The Warriors looked to sweep this mini, three-game homestand on Monday night by defeating the Sacramento Kings before heading out for a six-game road trip.
Unfortunately, Golden State was forced to face its northern-California rival without MVPs Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry — both of whom missed the game due to injuries. With Curry (hand) and Durant (ankle) out of the lineup, the game became a back-and-forth affair with no team ever able to pull away. But it was the Kings who came up with the big shots and stops in the game’s final minutes, to eek out a 110-106 victory.
McCaw shines in starting role
Taking Stephen Curry’s place in the starting lineup against the Kings, Patrick McCaw had easily his best game of the season. McCaw scored a season-high 16 points in 33 minutes on Monday night. Here, we see McCaw getting an easy dunk after stealing the ball from rookie De'Aaron Fox.
Steal & a slam by @PMcCaw0 (@NBCSAuthentic) pic.twitter.com/GMzxzi3Nvt— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) November 28, 2017
McCaw would end the game with career highs in both steals (4) and assists (7), putting together an impressive all-around game while filling in for two-time MVP Curry.
McCaw’s three-point shooting also looked better on Monday night as he took open shots and made them at a pretty good rate — shooting 40% from three-point range. For someone whose minutes have deceased as his playing time has been given to Nick Young more and more, it was good to see McCaw put together a strong performance and hopefully earn more playing time in Steve Kerr’s rotation.
Up-and-down night for the Warriors’ other All-Stars
The remaining Warriors’ All-Stars that took to the court had very uneven games, playing well at certain times and struggling mightily at others. One might’ve figured that with Curry and Durant taking the night off, Klay Thompson would be primed for an offensive explosion. The Warriors’ shooting guard did knock down some impressive shots, including this one late in the game that featured one of McCaw’s seven assists.
.@KlayThompson from the corner ... #SPLASH (@NBCSAuthentic) pic.twitter.com/CErMgrrKVL— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) November 28, 2017
Though Thompson finished with a game-high 21 points, those points came on 7-of-20 shooting from the field, including a rough fourth quarter during which he only shot 1-for-5. (That only make is posted above.) For the Warriors to win on offense, they needed Thompson not only to make up for the shots Curry and Durant would have made, but also the ones they would have attempted and missed. Unfortunately, Thompson’s shooting was off Monday night and he wasn’t able to make up for the missing All-Stars.
Draymond Green, like Thompson, took on a larger offensive role against the Kings. Green attempted a season-high 15 field goals — including 11 three-pointers (also a season high) — but only made four of those field-goal attempts (all threes). He ended up with 14 points for the game.
One of Green’s three-pointers came with under six minutes left to go in the fourth quarter to break a 98-98 tie.
Go-ahead #SPLASH by @Money23Green (@NBCSAuthentic) pic.twitter.com/BXTOfGzEe9— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) November 28, 2017
Not surprisingly, Green was also a solid contributor on the defensive end as well.
Only @Money23Green can guard 2 players at once pic.twitter.com/Cq0pywM7Dz— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) November 28, 2017
Though seeing Green make three-point shots was good (as was the case with Andre Iguodala, who shot a season-best 2-for-3 from three-point range), both he and Thompson missed too many shots for the Warriors to win. Streaky shooting was something that plagued the entire team and really hurt them in the fourth quarter where, as we will discuss shortly, they really let this game slip away.
Cauley-Stein and Hill lead the way for the Kings
While most watching this game were most excited to see the Kings’ rookie, Fox, play, he had a quiet game and finished with 6 points (on 3-of-7 shooting), 4 assists and 4 rebounds. The two stars of the game for the Kings, therefore, were Willie Cauley-Stein and George Hill, who combined for 35 points.
Hill, who finished with 16 points, did the bulk of his scoring in the third quarter, making three three-pointers that kept the Kings in the game when it looked like the Warriors might run away with it.
George Hill's third quarter: 13 points on 5/5 shooting (3/3 from three)— Danny Leroux (@DannyLeroux) November 28, 2017
Cauley-Stein, meanwhile, did most of his damage in the fourth quarter, scoring eight of his 19 points in that frame. Cauley-Stein attacked the rim, dunking the ball or putting it back in after a missed Kings’ shot — taking advantage of the Warriors’ lack of length with Durant out of the lineup. Cauley-Stein also grabbed eight rebounds, including three offensive rebounds, which enabled the Kings to get second-chance points.
Though they would get contributions from Garrett Temple and Frank Mason III (both scoring 14 points), it was Hill and Cauley-Stein who kept the Kings in this game and, eventually, enabled them to win.
Warriors gave the game away in the fourth
Though the Warriors got leads, as big as 10 points late in the second quarter, the Kings would go on a run of their own to erase the deficit. The Kings were able to take advantage of the Warriors’ 15 turnovers by scoring 25 points off those turnovers to remain in the game throughout.
Riding a 13-0 streak at the end of the third quarter and into the fourth, the Kings eventually opened up a six-point lead before the Warriors answered to tie the game. From there, the quarter consisted of the team trading buckets with no one holding the advantage before Thompson hit his single three-pointer of the fourth to give the Warriors a four-point lead.
But with less than two minutes left in the game, the Warriors allowed the Kings to again answer — but this time it proved much more costly. As Temple attempted a three-point shot, Omri Casspi (who started in place of Kevin Durant) closed out a bit too hard and ended up fouling the Kings’ player while he was shooting from three-point range.
This sent Temple to the line to shoot three free throws, which fully unraveled things for the Warriors. The Athletic’s Anthony Slater aptly summed up the costly possession.
If GSW loses, blame that defensive possession a minute ago: Casspi fouls 3-point shooter, Kings hit two, miss third FT, GSW gives up Orebound and then oop to Cauley-Stein.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) November 28, 2017
Game tied: 106-106, 62 seconds left
From there, the Warriors missed their remaining field-goal attempts (with Thompson missing two three-pointers, while Bogdan Bogdanovic scored four points in the final minute to give the Kings the 110-106 victory.
While this was a game the Warriors could have won, even without Durant and Curry playing, their absence means one should not read a whole lot into this result.
The biggest takeaway from Monday night’s performance is that McCaw does look like a player who can be a serious contributor for the Warriors later on. Between McCaw and Jordan Bell, who scored 4 points and grabbed 5 rebounds in six minutes of action in the second quarter, the Warriors do appear to have promising pieces for the future.
But the Warriors will look to put this loss behind them when they travel to Staples Center to play the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday, hopefully with Curry and/or Durant back in the starting lineup.