SAN ANTONIO — The San Antonio Spurs (13-31) lost their fifth game in a row in a 132-119 loss to the visiting Sacramento Kings.
Sacramento is now 24-18, leading a division that has the Warriors, Lakers, Clippers and Suns. The Spurs had a bunch of solid performances, but couldn't get enough stops.
Tre Jones guided the Spurs to a smooth start, assisting Jakob Poeltl on three buckets and scoring another two himself before lobbing it up to Jeremy Sochan for an emphatic slam and a 17-10 lead.
Keldon Johnson scored inside a few times, but continued to struggle with his efficiency. Sacramento made a run and surged into the lead. Stanley Johnson dished four assists in the first quarter, and the Spurs trailed the Kings 33-32 after one.
PHOTOS: Spurs fall to Kings 132-119
Blake Wesley got some minutes in the second quarter and showed off an impressive array of skills. He drove in for a creative finish, then found Sochan on an assist. Sochan scored another in close off a feed from Johnson, then Johnson got it to Wesley for a triple.
Poeltl continued to pressure the rim and score, and Jones got it to Keldon for a big dunk to put the Spurs in front midway through the quarter.
Johnson scored again and the teams went back and forth. In the last 90 seconds Tre Jones hit a short jumper, then drove for free throws, then got up for a big putback jam.
San Antonio led the Kings 64-63 at the break.
Poeltl continued his scoring tear to start the second half, but Sacramento pushed in front. Sochan stole a few baskets on tip shots, then hit some one-handed free throws.
Former Spurs Trey Lyles and Chimezie Metu both had a big stretch in the third, and helped their team take a 102-90 lead into the final quarter.
Tre Jones got in the game and got right to the rim. Josh Richardson ran a transition break and hit Zach Collins in the corner for three, then Malaki Branham dribbled into an elbow jumper to cut the deficit to single digits.
De'Aaron Fox hit a three, but Richardson answered with his own. Keldon Johnson's three-ball has been an issue of late, but he confidently stepped into one and drilled it. Then Jones passed to KJ in the corner and he swished it again to make it a five-point game.
On the next play Tre forced a turnover and let out a big yell. Johnson couldn't get his third in a row, and the Kings scored a few times to force a timeout. Richardson knocked one down from the corner and Sochan drove for a layup to cut it to four.
Fox hit from in between, then the Kings got a three off an offensive foul. Branham missed a three, then Keldon missed another. Fox scored again to make it an 11-point game, and Johnson missed his third triple in a row. He missed another, then got it back after an offensive board and drove for a layup off the glass.
San Antonio got three cracks at it on one possession but failed to convert, and the clock became an insurmountable obstacle.
The Kings won 132-119. Jakob Poeltl led the way with 23 points, 7 boards and 2 blocks while Richardson, Johnson, Sochan and Jones each scored 15+. Offense wasn't the problem, but the Spurs struggled to contain the Kings who shot better from the floor, the arc and the stripe.
The Spurs fall to 13-31 on the season, and next they'll host the Nets.
The Spurs are coming off a 144-113 loss in the Alamodome versus the Warriors.
Tre Jones had 21 points and five assists to lead the team while Keldon Johnson added 17 points. Doug McDermott finished with 14 points and two rebounds while Jakob Poeltl recorded eight points and 10 rebounds in the loss.
Golden State exploded for 40-plus points in the second and third quarters and led as much as 39 points over the Spurs.
"There's a reason why they [Warriors] are NBA champions," Gregg Popovich said. "They showed it. They're really good. Their experience, and their talent. Steve [Kerr] does such a great job with them. It's why they're so successful. That's why they've won championships. It was a great opportunity for our guys to learn."
The Spurs will be in their Statement Edition jerseys today.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH
1. The Kings have connected on more three-point shots than their opponent in four consecutive games.
2. The Kings have recorded fewer turnovers than their opponent in five consecutive games.
3. The Kings are 5-1 on the road when leading after the third period.
4. The Spurs are 0-12 at home when trailing after the third period.
5. The Spurs are averaging 115.6 points per game in the month of January.
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