Spurs too hot for Kings

It was Bobby Jackson night at Arco Arena, but that celebration wasn’t enough to distract Manu Ginobili and the San Antonio Spurs.

Ginobili struggled through three quarters and then scored 11 points during a five-minute fourth-quarter spurt to lead the Spurs to a 95-86 victory before a crowd of 11,732.

The defeat was Sacramento’s eight straight and fifth consecutive at home.

Once again, the Kings (24-54) played well until the game was up for grabs. The score was tied at 79-79 midway through the fourth quarter until the Spurs ran off 12 straight points to take control of the game. Ginobili, who entered the fourth quarter having made one of six field-goal attempts and with just five points, made each of his three three-point shots to provide the impetus for San Antonio’s victory.

San Antonio (48-29) has won 16 of its past 21 games, including four straight and six of its past seven. Ginobili also played a role at the defensive end by helping to slow Kings rookie point guard Tyreke Evans.

Evans led all scorers with 22 points, but shot 10 of 24 from the field and made only three of nine field-goal attempts in the fourth quarter. Evans said he would discard the mouthpiece he’s been using for the past four games.

"I’m not wearing that any more," he said after throwing it down in the first half. "I started playing better when I threw it away."

Ginobili, with help from the Spurs’ defense, made of point of not allowing Evans to get to the basket without a challenge.

Ginobili’s Spurs received an expected return from point guard Tony Parker, who missed the previous 16 games with a fractured right hand. Parker’s timing clearly was not there and he scored eight points with four turnovers in 17 minutes.

Kings coach Paul Westphal acknowledged Ginobili’s ability to get hot when needed.

"Ginobili is good," the coach understated. "It’s like he decided to let us hang around until we weren’t going to be able to hang around anymore. It’s like he said, ‘I think I’m going to make three threes in the fourth quarter and open this thing up.’ "

The Spurs’ best point guard on the night was Garrett Temple, who earlier this season had a 10-day contract with the Kings. Temple was one of six Spurs to reach double figures with a career-high 15 points in 27 minutes on five of eight field-goal shooting.

The Kings could have used a talent and heart like Jackson’s on the floor in uniform. Instead, the Kings and their fans had to settle for the smartly-dressed Jackson at halfcourt being feted by President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie and a number of video tributes during times out.

Jackson, now a member of the basketball operations staff, had to smile during video tributes from former teammates Peja Stojakovic, Scot Pollard, Mike Bibby and Chris Webber.

The Kings play Thursday night at Arco against the Los Angeles Clippers.


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