The Sacramento Kings defeated the Golden State Warriors at their own game on Sunday night, dominating the reigning champs 122-115 thanks to a barrage of three-pointers and forced errors.
It’s important to remember that the I-80 opponents of the Warriors aren’t the on-court disasters they have been for the majority of the last two decades. With De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis surrounded by capable three-point shooters and devoting more to defense under former Dubs assistant Mike Brown, Sacramento has won four consecutive games to move to.500.
The new-look Kings aren’t contenders, of course, but they appear destined for a play-in position and perhaps more if opponents in the Western Conference who are far higher than them continue to struggle.
“Our men sparred and competed. After the game, Steve Kerr commented, “I love the effort. “A team that played better than us tonight beat us,” I said. Golden State’s early-season struggles will probably end.
On Sunday, there were at least some indications of that improvement. Once again, the starters excelled. On both ends, Andrew Wiggins was fantastic. Klay Thompson sank five three-pointers.
But if the Warriors can’t win away from Chase Center, they won’t be able to complete a back-to-back, and over a month into the regular season, they have yet to claim their first away win.
The 0-7 road record of Golden State is the poorest it has had since 1989–1990.”Winning on the road is always challenging. Since this is now our third encounter with them, defeating them once more will be significantly more difficult, according to Kevon Looney.
“You can’t commit a lot of turnovers, give up offensive rebounds, and do all the little things when you’re on the road. We’ve been having team discussions about that. At home, we’ve been doing a better job at that, but when we’re traveling, it seems to slip our minds.
The road losing skid was “wild” and “crazy,” according to Draymond Green. If you want to win games in this league, you just have to realize that your margin for mistakes is much smaller on the road.
The Warriors lost repeated leads in crucial moments after blowing a 15-point lead early on. Due to Golden State’s lack of size without both Draymond Green and Kevon Looney on the court, Sabonis had free reign in the paint. The Warriors’ 18 turnovers included a lot of intentional mistakes. In both halves, the new bench lineups were utterly outplayed.
Golden State’s offensive stalled after Sacramento committed to trapping Curry in the final seconds. After the Kings regained the lead with just over two minutes left, the Warriors missed four clear catch-and-shoot opportunities from three, all made possible by Curry’s gravity.
There will be other nights when such jumpers miss, which will help Golden State win crucial games. But it’s obvious that this club can’t win every game on the strength of Curry’s heroics in crunch time. Teams will increasingly adopt Sacramento’s strategy of physically removing the ball from his hands.
For the Warriors, there isn’t a simple solution, though. Losses like Sundays shouldn’t be too shocking until Kerr finds a more reliable rotation or until a fresh talent breaks out. Golden State, in 13th in the Western Conference with a record of 5-8, isn’t by much better than Sacramento right now.
They simply outplayed us, added Kerr. “Ask them for some praise. At least the Warriors will be playing the San Antonio Spurs at home on Monday at Chase Center in the second game of a back-to-back.