MVP-less Warriors get Outshot by the Kings, lose 110-106
The Golden State Warriors (15-5) looked to close out a successful homestand against the Sacramento Kings (5-14). The Warriors would be without Kevin Durant, who was still out resting his ankle, and Stephen Curry, who had a right hand contusion. Going into this game, the Kings were the worst defensive team in the NBA, while the Warriors were the best offensive team in the league. This would be a major test for Klay Thompson and Draymond Green to see how they can carry the load while KD and Steph sat out. The Kings would go on to beat the Warriors 110-106.
The first quarter saw both teams shoot extremely well, with both teams over 50% from the field. The Warriors and the Kings also both shot over 50% from deep as well. There was hardly any open floor on offense without the gravity that Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant create, but Draymond Green was still able to create space and hit two threes. No particular player dominated the scoring numbers in the first, for both teams. After the first, the game was tied at 27.
In the second quarter, the Warriors managed to pull ahead of the Kings thanks to an immediate spark off the bench from Jordan Bell, who checked into the game and dunked 0.1 seconds later. The Warriors shot the ball at a 51% clip in the first half, while the Kings shot slightly below that at 47.7%. Neither team had a player with double digit scoring numbers, and the scoring was incredibly spread out between both teams. The Warriors’ leading scorers were Pat McCaw and Klay Thompson, who both had nine points. Pat McCaw looked really good when he was playing tonight, making an impact all over the court. The Kings’ leading scorer was Garrett Temple with nine points, and Zach Randolph was close behind him with eight points. Both teams played very similarly throughout the whole first half, and because of this, it was a two-point game going into the half. At halftime, the Warriors led the Kings, 55-53.
The third quarter saw the Warriors get sloppy and lose their lead to the Kings. The Warriors still shot the ball at a 50% clip, but had 12 turnovers by the end of the third. The Kings’ shooting percentage rose to 53%, which is surprising because the Kings were the worst shooting team in the NBA coming into the game versus the Warriors. The game continued to be a very even, back-and-forth affair, and heading into the fourth quarter, the Kings led the Warriors 83-82.
In the fourth quarter, the back-and-forth affair continued, and the game came down to the wire. The Kings continued to shoot the ball exceptionally well, and were the first team to shoot above 50% against the Warriors in 36 games, with 53.2%. The Warriors shot 50% down the stretch, as they did for the majority of the game. The Kings had six players with double digit scoring numbers, with their leading scorer being Willie Cauley-Stein who had 19 points on 8-9 shooting. The Warriors only had five players with double digit scoring, and their leading scorer was Klay Thompson, who, despite a poor shooting night, had 21 points while going 7-20. With under a minute to go in the game, Bogdan Bogdanovic drove to the hoop and put in a game-winning layup to put the Kings ahead for good. The Kings beat the Warriors 110-106.
There isn’t much to take away from this game, as the Warriors had two MVPs sitting out with injuries, there was a decent chance that the Kings could steal the game. I did question some of Steve Kerr’s moves down the stretch, especially his decision to not play Jordan Bell in the second half. In the first half, Bell had four points, five rebounds, one steal, and one block, in just SIX minutes of playing time. Bell almost always makes an immediate impact off the bench, and has been arguable the Warriors’ best big man. I thought that Kerr got a little cocky down the stretch with his lack of substitutions and making sure the hot hands were on the court.
I thought that Pat McCaw had an excellent game. In his first start of the year, he scored 16 points, grabbed three rebounds, dished out seven assists, stole three passes, and blocked one shot. He looked a lot more assertive and willing to shoot without Curry or KD on the floor, which made sense, because if either KD or Steph is on the floor, you are going to want to make sure they get more shots, even if they are barely more open than you are. Draymond Green also had a 14 points, but he got those 14 points while going 4-15 from the field, which included going 4-11 from three. I don’t think that Draymond jacking up threes was an effective strategy, even though the threes he made were spectacular.
The Warriors play next on Wednesday, November 29, at 7:30 p.m. in Los Angeles against the Lakers.