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San Antonio Spurs down Kings, enhance play-in chances

May 7, 2021; Sacramento, California, USA; San Antonio Spurs center Jakob Poeltl (25) reaches in against Sacramento Kings forward Marvin Bagley III (35) during the second quarter at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

DeMar DeRozan scored 25 points and Lonnie Walker IV made key baskets in the decisive stretch as the visiting San Antonio Spurs defeated the Sacramento Kings 113-104 on Friday.

The Spurs were down by three points heading into the fourth quarter but used an 14-3 run over a first 3 1/2 minutes of the final period to open up a 92-84 advantage. San Antonio pushed the advantage to a game-high 11 points before Sacramento clawed back to within 103-102 on a banked 3-pointer by Buddy Hield with 2:37 remaining.

However, the Spurs never surrendered the lead, with Walker scoring half of his 16 points in the final 3:03 of the game.

Murray added 22 points and seven assists for San Antonio. Keldon Johnson scored 16, Rudy Gay hit for 14 points and Jakob Poeltl tallied 11 points and 10 rebounds.

The 10th-place Spurs (32-34) snapped a five-game losing streak and moved their lead over the 11th-place New Orleans Pelicans to 2 1/2 games the final position in the Western Conference play-in tournament.

San Antonio owns the tiebreakers with both New Orleans and 12th-place Sacramento (29-38), which is 3 1/2 games back of the Spurs. The Kings had a four-game winning streak halted.

Terance Davis led the Kings with 24 points. Hield and Delon Wright scored 17 points each, with Wright contributing nine assists. Richaun Holmes hit for 15 points and Maurice Harkless added 12.

The Kings were missing three starters — De’Aaron Fox (health and safety protocols), Tyrese Haliburton (hyperextended left knee) and Harrison Barnes (left abductor tightness).

The Spurs enjoyed as much as a 10-point lead in the first quarter before settling for a 25-21 advantage after 12 minutes of play. Sacramento came all the way back to go ahead 47-46 on Hield’s 3-pointer with 1:38 left in the second period, but San Antonio ended the quarter with a three consecutive baskets by DeRozan to assume a 52-49 lead at the break.

DeRozan led all scorers with 18 first-half points. Davis’ 15 points off the bench (on 6-of-7 shooting) paced Sacramento before intermission.

–Field Level Media