Warriors have dropped eight of the last 11 regular season games vs. the Kings in Sacramento. Last road preseason game of the year tonight— GSWStats (@gswstats) October 24, 2013
At this point in the preseason, we should be looking for positives and taking whatever negatives there might be with a grain of salt.
That might be especially true in light of the Golden State Warriors' 91-90 loss to the Sacramento Kings (of all teams) tonight.
But if you're looking for something to rest your hopes on for the upcoming regular season, their performance after getting down 13-2 with eight minutes left in the first quarter was a glimpse of just how good this team can be.
The Warriors went on a 10-0 run over the next two minutes that featured exactly what this team looks built to do on paper (and what Jerry West has been preaching): advancing the ball with the pass, making the extra pass, and maintaining beautiful spacing as the defense struggled to keep up. Defensively, they closed down the passing lanes, forced the Kings offense late into the clock, and completely took the Kings out of what they wanted to do.
Things weren't perfect outside of those moments – although the second unit is gritty, it's clear they'll struggle to score against the league's top tier units. And then of course the fourth quarter happened and the Warriors blew a 14-point lead en route to a loss.
But a few general thoughts from during the game.
Most of us at GsoM have wanted Andre Iguodala even before the recent Warriors revival and tonight was a good example of why: he did a bit of everything, getting in the passing lanes defensively, facilitating for others, and offering the starting unit another ball handler to lead the break.
Speights was in the game for David Lee with the other four starters and the team barely missed a beat offensively: Speights can is adept at hitting jumpers as well and they have so many threats on the floor that they don't need to rely on any one.
Well, except Curry – dude lit it up in the third quarter.
Curry this quarter: 14 points, 5-of-6 FG, 4-of-5 3FG. Warriors lead 74-57 with a 23-9 third quarter thus far (4:24 remaining)— GSWStats (@gswstats) October 24, 2013
I don't know about anyone else, but I thoroughly enjoyed watching Curry and Thomas go at each other in the third quarter – as someone who watched quite a bit of him at Washington, he brings it every night and had no business being drafted as low as he did. And things turned out in a way Washington fans might be familiar with: Thomas' competitive spirit in his individual battle with one of the best players in the league ended up being contagious (which definitely diminished my previous enjoyment of the tit-for-tat in the third).
That second unit was fun to watch at times, in a sense: no nonsense, blue collar, defensive basketball is not something we're used to seeing from the Warriors. And another thought crossed my mind: it's only preseason, but there were years during the Dark Ages (1997-2002) when the Warriors starters would struggle to beat this year's second unit, if only because of what would transpire on the defensive end. I'm sure the staff will find the right combinations and rotations to keep this team competitive – for now, I'm just trying to appreciate every moment of this newfound interest in actually trying on the defensive end.
In my steadfast refusal to get worked up about a preseason game, I'm not going to fixate on the final quarter of this game. But I will re-direct you to my comments on what occurred during that 10-0 run in the first quarter and just leave this fourth quarter shot chart here.
Warriors fourth quarter shot chart in Sacramento.
One more game of tuning up, then moving on to the real thing.