National Basketball Association
San Antonio 98, Sacramento 85
When: 8:30 PM ET, Monday, April 9, 2018
Where: AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas
#14 Ed Malloy, #40 Leon Wood, #6 Tony Brown
Rudy Gay scored 18 points off the bench, and Manu Ginobili added 17 as the San Antonio Spurs bumbled and stumbled through the first 3 1/2 quarters but found a way to defeat the visiting Sacramento Kings 98-85 on Monday and clinch a 21st consecutive playoff berth.
Ginobili had eight points and Gay hit for a five in a decisive four-minute, fourth-quarter run by the Spurs that turned a 77-76 deficit into a runaway 94-85 advantage with 2:40 to play.
The win allowed the Spurs (47-34) to continue the league's longest active postseason streak and tie the Portland Trail Blazers (1983-2003) for the second-longest streak in NBA history. The Syracuse Nationals/Philadelphia 76ers hold the record at 22 seasons from 1950-71.
No other NBA team has an active streak longer than six seasons.
The Spurs can finish as high as fifth and as low as the eighth seed in the Western Conference, depending on the outcome of games Tuesday and Wednesday.
Sacramento (26-55) has long been eliminated from the playoff picture but played like a team that was hungry to do some damage. Eventually San Antonio was just too much for the Kings, though.
LaMarcus Aldridge added 15 points and 14 rebounds for San Antonio, while Patty Mills hit for 15 points and Bryn Forbes scored 11 for the Spurs.
Willie Cauley-Stein led all scorers with 25 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for the Kings. De'Aaron Fox tallied 21 points, and Buddy Hield racked up 17 off the bench for Sacramento.
San Antonio didn't play the first half with much urgency, trailing the Kings 50-43 at intermission. Sacramento led by as many as 12 points in the half and was led by Cauley-Stein and Fox with 13 points apiece.
Aldridge paced the Spurs with nine points in the first half as San Antonio was just 3 of 13 from beyond the arc over the first 24 minutes of play.
The Kings kept up the pressure early in the third quarter, re-establishing their 12-point lead on a short Cauley-Stein jumper with 6:38 to play in the period. Two free throws by Gay with 39.9 to play in the third and then a jumper with 1.9 remaining brought San Antonio back to within 66-60 heading to the fourth quarter.
Two Aldridge free throws with 7:40 to play gave the Spurs just their second lead of the game, 75-74. Ginobili then hit another pair of free throws a minute later to tie the game and set the table for the furious finish.
The Spurs finish their regular season on Wednesday in New Orleans while Sacramento heads home to host the Houston Rockets, also on Wednesday.
--Field Level Media
Top Game Performances
Willie Cauley-Stein 25
Rudy Gay 18
De'Aaron Fox 7
Manu Ginobili 5
Willie Cauley-Stein 10
LaMarcus Aldridge 14
Willie Cauley-Stein 5
||Free Throws Made
Rudy Gay 8
Buddy Hield 2
Kyle Anderson 2
Willie Cauley-Stein 1
LaMarcus Aldridge 2
Team Stats Summary
San Antonio will play their next game on the road against New Orleans. The Spurs have a W/L % of .574 after a win and .588 after a loss.
Sacramento will play their next game at home against Houston. The Kings have a W/L % of .154 after a win and .400 after a loss.