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Thompson muscles in game winner as Warriors defeat Kings 117-116

Kevin Durant’s 44 point explosion combined with Klay Thompson’s 31 points to survive a high-level Sacramento effort in Oakland

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Golden State Warriors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The shorthanded Golden State Warriors overcame a spirited effort from the young Sacramento Kings, 117-116, on a Klay Thompson game winner. The champs overcame weary legs on the second night of a back-to-back to defeat the hungry Kings in a battle that went to the final seconds.

Kevin Durant exploded for 44 points, 13 rebounds, and 7 assists. Thompson scored 31 points, and his only fourth quarter basket was the winning shot.

Buddy Hield led the Kings with 28 points, while prized prospect Marvin Bagley III added 20 points of his own from the bench.

First Half

Thompson took on the load for first quarter scoring for the second night in a row, hitting the Kings up for 12 points early.

This time, young center Damian Jones was right alongside him in battle, aggressively putting up 9 points of his own in the first frame.

The second quarter was an exciting, up-and-down affair. Both teams are stocked with athletic, youthful bigs, and the squads ran the floor non-stop.

Durant in particular excelled in the high velocity style, getting to the free throw line 9 times and converting them all. He had 19 points and 8 rebounds at the half, but also a terrible 5 turnovers are he tried to make plays for teammates through the uptempo action.

The Kings, on the other hand, only turned the ball over 4 times as a team during the first half. Never a good sign when your star player has more turnovers by himself than the other team. The Warriors 9 turnovers fueled Sacramento’s 19 fastbreak points.

The Dubs shot 48% from the field after two quarters, but only made 3-of-13 from beyond the arc. Buddy Hield led all Kings’ scorers with 14 points at the half.

Kings 64, Warriors 60

Second Half

The Warriors immediately ripped off a 13-2 run to start the third quarter, unleashing some swarming defense to fluster Sacramento. Thompson put up 15 points in the third with quick trigger shooting that nearly blew the roof off of Oracle. The Warriors role players played with spring and energy, but the Kings were not nonplussed, and met the intensity head on.

Both teams went back and forth, with the Warriors winning the quarter, 35-29.

The young Kings didn’t care, and methodically penetrated the Warriors defense with pace and unselfishness. As the Warriors legs seemed to get heavy from the back-to-back, they needed an MVP performance from Durant to rescue them.

Tied 113-113 at two minutes, the tension rose. Durant’s dominant 4th quarter compelled the Dubs to hunt him out in the post, but the Kings were trapping the red-hot KD as soon as he got the ball, neutralizing that action. The Warriors recalibrated, and put KD at the top of the court, and he promptly got to the free throw line to push the Warriors up, 115-113.

The Kings got fouled on the other end, and split the free throws. The Warriors then couldn’t strike gold on their next possession after an offensive rebound, as Thompson fired up a mega deep three-point attempt with 35 seconds left to secure a two-for-one opportunity, ensuring a final possession for the champs. Thompson missed, the Kings rebounded, and the Warriors accidentally fouled De’Aaron Fox, putting him on the line, where he made two free throws. Kings 116, Warriors 115.

The Warriors called timeout, and on their next play tried to get KD an isolation look over Iman Shumpert. KD faded from the free throw line and missed, but Andre Iguodala secured the rebound. Here’s what happened next:

On the other end, Hield’s layup attempt was caught between the backboard and rim with 2.1 seconds left. This led to a jump ball. Durant tapped the ball back into the Kings backcourt, but Sacramento called timeout before the clock expired, despite Oracle exploding as though the game was over. The Kings got another chance to throw up a wild shot, but Damian Jones got a piece of the ball on the final play to finish the game off.

It was probably Jones’ best performance as a Dub, tallying 13 points and 6 rebounds in 21 energetic minutes.

The Kings can hold their heads up high despite the defeat. They outscored the Dubs 27-12 in fastbreak points, 46-38 in points in the paint, and won the turnover battle 8-to-15. Both teams went to the line 29 times, but the Warriors made 25 from the charity stripe, while the Kings made 21, a disparity large enough to cost Sacramento the game.

Moving On

KD carried the load, Thompson finished the job, and the role players did their jobs. THAT’S HOW YOU HOLD IT DOWN WHILE CURRY AND GREEN ARE ON THE SIDELINE!! #NOEXCUSES

Next game will be Monday against Orlando at Roaracle.