Four more games in May, please!
Once again the Golden State Warriors eeked out a last minute victory over a scrappy and young Sacramento Kings squad. Last night’s 125-123 slugfest is just another indication that a Warriors-Kings playoff series would be a very exciting and electrifying matchup regardless of a round.
It took every bit of Stephen Curry’s 36 points and Kevin Durant’s 28 points plus some prolific defense to secure the ‘W’ at home. Here are a few observations from last night’s action.
Warriors caught slipping
The Kings had a solid scheme offensively: Draw DeMarcus Cousins out of the paint and attack. For most of the game, it worked. Sacramento scored 56 to the Warriors’ 38 points in the paint, and the most frustrating thing about the points is the Warriors’ getting beat by the cuts. Bogden Bogdanovic, Willie Cauley-Stein, and Marvin Bagley in segments of the game all carved an open lane to the basket with cuts.
Actually, the Warriors were pretty lucky that Buddy Hield didn't recognize a wide open Bagley in the paint in the final seconds in regulation.
Bagley was a biiiiit open pic.twitter.com/jNYypRlzqi— Dieter Kurtenbach (@dkurtenbach) February 22, 2019
Sacramento ran a high screen and Bagley rolled to the basket one second into the clip. Wide open. Had Hield passed out of the set instead of forcing the middy, the game would have gone into overtime.
The Kings’ bench out scored the Warriors 49 to 14. Forty-Nine to Fourteen. The Warriors must find a second unit that is capable and solid enough to hold and extend leads. So far, that has yet to happen. Golden State held a five point lead into the second quarter, and it only took a Sacramento 15-5 run to fall behind by five in a span of three minutes.
When the Kings pushed their lead to 54-43 in the second, Warriors’ coach Steve Kerr deployed the Hamptons 5 line up of Curry, Durant, Andre Iguodala, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson and went on a 14-8 run to end the first half.
The Warriors’ second unit’s inefficiency put the team in a bind. It took the Warriors most of the game to push though for the win. Granted the unit helped the Warriors down the strength and even provided the team with at five point cushion mid fourth, but getting outscored by 35 is inexcusable.
The Warriors turned Oracle into a baker last night with all of the careless turnovers they were committing. During their 16-2 stretch before the All Star Break, the Warriors turned the ball over at least 10 times or less. Last night, they committed 15. The Kings made the Warriors pay by scoring 22 points off of those turnovers. After taking care of the ball so well in December and January, the Warriors were probably due for a game like this one where they were a little reckless with the passes. If they are locking in for the postseason, they must take care of the ball and make their passes efficient and effective.