The beauty of having superstars is that they can put a team on their back, and lead a dominant performance. Such was the case for the Golden State Warriors, who outscored the Sacramento Kings by 21 points in Kevin Durant’s 37 minutes, and by 18 points in Steph Curry’s 36.
The danger of having superstars is that the team becomes dependent on them, and sometimes struggles in those inevitable moments when the players sit. Such was also the case for the Warriors, who were outscored by 16 points in the 11 minutes Durant rode the pine, and by 13 points in Curry’s 12 minutes of rest.
But the other beauty of having superstars is that, when the game gets tight and the crowd begins to murmur, they can take control, and do special things. And, yes, such was also the case for the Warriors, who needed every ounce of their stardom en route to a 130-125 victory over the Kings.
The Warriors dominated early, and grabbed a 16-point lead in the second quarter. All signs pointed to a blowout victory.
But Sacramento would not go away, and mounted a second-half comeback, behind spirited performances from nearly half of their roster. The double-digit lead melted into a single-digit lead, and the single-digit lead evaporated. Suddenly, well into the fourth quarter, the Kings led by 10, and had all the momentum.
But then came those aforementioned superstars. Curry had a game-high 35 points, to go with 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals. Durant had 33 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists, while Klay Thompson splashed in 27 points with 9 rebounds. Draymond Green had a hilariously Draymondian double-double, with 14 rebounds and 10 assists to complement his 2 points.
And all of them had monstrous plays in the decisive final frame.
With 4:23 remaining, the Kings stretched the lead to 123-113. But Golden State rattled off a 10-0 run to tie things, punctuated by a bit of two-way brilliance from Curry and Thompson.
A De’Aaron Fox jumper with 47 seconds remaining briefly gave the Kings the lead, but then Thompson did what he did the first time these teams matched up: Hit the go-ahead shot to give the Dubs the win.
A 17-2 run to end the game. That’s the value of superstars.