• With the Spurs just one win away from securing their 21st consecutive playoff appearance, they surely thought they’d have a great shot at securing their spot against the lottery-bound Kings. While Sacramento couldn’t keep the Spurs from clinching a postseason spot, they certainly didn’t make it easy.

    Despite being well out of the playoff race, the Kings opened the game with the type of energy generally not seen from late-season lottery teams. The Spurs weren’t afforded any easy looks on offense in the first quarter, and their struggles on that end of the floor allowed the Kings to open up a decent lead.

    The Kings had some issues of their own early on, and a heel injury that kept Frank Mason out of the game only made things tougher. The Kings went without a point guard for much of the first half, and big performances from both De’Aaron Fox and Nigel Hayes may have been the only thing that kept the team in the lead heading into halftime.

    Fox was particularly impressive in the first half, going 3-for-4 from behind the arc and running the offense about as well as he has all season. He struggled a bit in the second half, settling too often for mid-range jumpers and committing some careless turnovers, but his overall body of work was impressive.  Fox finished the game with an impressive 21 points and seven assists on 7-for-17 shooting, but his five turnovers did lead to some easy baskets for San Antonio.

    He and Willie Cauley-Stein had some great moments together throughout the game, and the Spurs didn’t seem to have the athleticism to contain them early. Cauley-Stein’s ability to hit mid-range jumpers as well as dive to the rim makes him particularly dangerous with Fox and that was on full display in San Antonio.  He finished the game with 25 points and 10 rebounds on 10-for-20 shooting, and while he might be better off taking a few less shots, he did a great job of playing within himself and taking what the defense gave him.

    A hot start to the third quarter from Cauely-Stein and Fox gave the team a nice cushion early, but their offense slowed as the quarter went on. The Spurs didn’t make the Kings pay at first, but the lead was narrowed to just six heading into the fourth.  Sacramento has relied on Bogdan Bogdanovic for offense this season, especially when they face more experienced teams like the Spurs, but the Kings’ promising young guard finished with just two points in his 26 minutes of play.  The team clearly needed someone with his ability to create shots and shoot off the dribble, but he couldn’t get much going against the Spurs’ defense.

    One consistent theme throughout the game was LaMarcus Aldridge’s inability to score effectively in the post.  Cauely-Stein did a great job of matching his physicality and staying in front, holding Aldridge to just 15 points on 6-for-19 shooting.  Aldridge has been a go-to option for the Spurs with Kawhi Leonard out, but Cauley-Stein’s strong defense kept him from making an impact against the Kings.

    Foul trouble was a theme for Sacramento throughout the game, but the fourth quarter was particularly rough. Sacramento picked up three team fouls in the first minute of the fourth, and had to call an early timeout to regroup.

    One of the biggest contributors for the Spurs was former King Rudy Gay, who finished with an impressive 18 points and six rebounds on just nine shots off the bench.  His strong play in the fourth was a large part of what allowed the Spurs to pull away and take control of the game.

    San Antonio was able to tie the game shortly after and quickly took away the momentum that the Kings had built throughout the first three quarters. Sacramento had no answer for the Spurs over the last six minutes of the game, eventually losing 98-85.

    The Kings will now head home to prepare for their final game of the season against the Houston Rockets.

Fantasy News

  • Damian Lillard - G - Trail Blazers

    Damian Lillard put up an instant classic performance featuring a game-winning deep three, 10 total triples and a 50-spot in Tuesday's 118-115 closeout win over the Thunder in Portland.

    Lillard started off Game 5 with 34 first-half points while playing all 24 minutes. He finished with seven boards, six dimes, three steals and a block while shooting 17-for-33 from the field and 6-for-8 from the line. Despite a big second-half Thunder run, Lillard kept it going all the way until the buzzer as his shot from near the logo fell, giving him an even 50 and a series win as he waived goodbye to the Thunder.

  • CJ McCollum - G - Trail Blazers

    CJ McCollum put up 17 points (8-of-19 FGs), two rebounds, two assists, one triple and two blocks in 32 minutes in Tuesday's closeout win over the Thunder.

    McCollum sat a little more than usual in the first half after getting his third foul early, though he also ended with three fouls in another example of why coaches should just leave players in until they get their fourth or fifth. McCollum had been on fire in this series, averaging over 26 points per game coming into tonight's game. He and the Blazers now wait to see if they'll get the Nuggets or the Spurs in the next round.

  • Enes Kanter - C - Trail Blazers

    Enes Kanter toughed out a 13-point, 13-rebound double-double over 32 minutes in Tuesday's Game 5 victory over the Thunder.

    Kanter also had four assists and a block while shooting 6-for-9 from the floor tonight. He got pretty banged up in the first half, injuring his shoulder which was heavily wrapped after the game. Kanter averaged over 13 points and 10 rebounds in under 30 minutes for the series and he looks like one of the best mid-season signings in the league at this point.

  • Maurice Harkless - F - Trail Blazers

    Maurice Harkless had 17 points on just nine shots with seven rebounds, an assist and a steal in 33 minutes on Tuesday vs. the Thunder.

    It's not wise to rely on Harkless, but he can be the wildcard the Blazers need every few games. After closing out the Thunder tonight, they'll await the winner of the Spurs and Nuggets series.

  • Paul George - F - Oklahoma City Thunder

    Paul George had a huge game with 36 points (14-of-20 FGs, 5-of-8 FTs), nine rebounds, three assists and three 3-pointers in Tuesday's 118-115 road loss to the Blazers.

    George was feeling it early, making his first five shots. He battled through first-half foul trouble and likely some lingering pain from his injury. But it wasn't quite enough as Damian Lillard out-played him in this one to end the series in Portland.

  • Russell Westbrook - G - Oklahoma City Thunder

    Russell Westbrook put up one final triple-double with 29 points, 11 rebounds and 14 assists as the Thunder were eliminated from the playoffs by the Blazers on Tuesday.

    Aside from making all three of his free throws, it was a microcosm of Westbrook's season. He shot just 11-of-31 (4-of-11 from three) and had four steals, two blocks and five turnovers in 45 minutes. There's no better value if you're looking to punt three categories next season.

  • Dennis Schroder - G - Oklahoma City Thunder

    Dennis Schroder went for 17 points on 7-of-10 from the field in addition to two rebounds, three assists, two treys and just one turnover in 33 minutes in Tuesday's Game 5 loss.

    That makes it three straight games of 17 points and two threes for Schroder. It'll be interesting to see if he can carve out a slightly bigger role as he returns to OKC next season with the Thunder possibly looking to make some changes.

  • Jerami Grant - F - Oklahoma City Thunder

    Jerami Grant had an incredibly efficient 16 points (7-for-8 FGs) to go with eight boards, one assist, three blocks and two threes in 44 minutes in Tuesday's close loss to the Blazers.

    It was quite the fantasy line for Grant, though it will be his final one until October. The Thunder had a great shot at a win tonight, but the Blazers closed the game and series out in miracle fashion.

  • Jamal Murray - G - Denver Nuggets

    Jamal Murray knocked down plenty of shots again on his way to a game-high 23 points (9-of-16 FGs) in 28 minutes in Tuesday night's 108-90 home win over the Spurs.

    Consistently inconsistent, the streaky Murray put together a second straight great game tonight. In addition to the shooting, which included 4-for-9 from deep, he added four boards, seven dimes, two steals and a block. The Nuggets often go as he goes, so they'll look for him to keep it up in Game 6 in San Antonio.

  • Nikola Jokic - C - Denver Nuggets

    Nikola Jokic had another double-double on Tuesday vs. the Spurs, going for 16 points (5-for-11 FGs, 4-for-4 FTs), 11 rebounds, eight assists, two steals, one block and two threes in 33 minutes.

    The Joker wasn’t needed down the stretch as the Nuggets put this game out of reach early. It’s been a great series for him with averages of 19.6 points, 11.6 rebounds and 9.0 assists. He'll try to help secure a series win this Thursday night in San Antonio.