The Golden State Warriors last game was one of their best of the year, as they put together a 21-point victory over the Denver Nuggets. Sure, the Nuggets were without Jamal Murray and Will Barton, but they’re still sitting near the top of the Western Conference, and any victory — let alone a 21-point one — stands as a successful game against them.
Now they get an easier opponent, but it doesn’t matter unless they handle business.
Who: Golden State Warriors (30-30) vs. Sacramento Kings (24-35)
When: 7:00 p.m. PT
Where: Chase Center, San Francisco, California
TV: NBC Sports Bay Area and NBA TV (available on fuboTV)
Projected starting lineups:
Warriors: Stephen Curry, Mychal Mulder, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green, Kevon Looney
Kings: Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes, Mo Harkless, Hassan Whiteside
Warriors: Beat the Nuggets 118-97 — 3-2 in their last 5 games
Kings: Beat the Timberwolves 128-125 — 2-3 in their last 5 games
Team ratings (garbage-time adjusted, per Cleaning The Glass):
Warriors: 110.2 offense (22nd), 110.0 defense (8th), -0.9 net (19th)
Kings: 114.6 offense (11th), 119.1 defense (30th), -4.5 net (24th)
OUT: Kent Bazemore
OUT: Damion Lee
OUT: Eric Paschall
OUT: James Wiseman
OUT: Klay Thompson
OUT: De’Aaron Fox
OUT: Marvin Bagley III
OUT: Robert Woodard
QUESTIONABLE: Richaun Holmes
Thus begins the Warriors home stretch. They currently sit in 10th place in the West, representing the last of the play-in teams. But they’re only a single game behind the 8th seed, which would get them to a much more favorable play-in spot (they’re also 3.5 games behind the 6th seed, so getting a secure playoff spot isn’t out of the question, even if it is unlikely).
The Dubs have 12 games left, and eight of them are at Oracle. They have a light schedule that not only features tonight’s game against the Kings, but one against the Minnesota Timberwolves, two against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and three against the New Orleans Pelicans.
If the team that showed up against Denver shows up against Sacramento, it will be a statement that the Dubs are gunning for the teams ahead of them in the standings.
Players to watch
Warrior to watch: Jordan Poole.
Lately the Warriors have flipped the switch on their bench. Part of it is due to injuries forcing some players out of the rotation. Part of it is due to Steve Kerr finding the best possible lineups after a lot of experimentation. And much of it is due to simply playing better.
Poole has been a huge part of that. He has a positive plus-minus in nine of the last 10 games — admittedly his larger role has led to him sharing the court with Steph Curry more often now, but that stat is still indicative of the bench adding to leads instead of squandering them.
Sacramento’s bench is stretched thin, especially with all their injuries. If Poole has another strong game, it could help the Dubs put away the Kings early.
King to watch: Buddy Hield.
Hield is still an electric shooter who fires more than 10 attempts per game, and the Warriors know better than anyone that one hot game from a three-point shooter can determine the outcome. They’ll need to keep him in check.
Matchup to watch: Andrew Wiggins vs. Harrison Barnes.
It’s the small forward that started when the dynasty began against the small forward who hopes to help the dynasty reboot. While the Kings have a handful of exciting young players, the veteran Barnes has, by most accounts, been their best player. Wiggins will seek to make him work on defense, and shut down the senator’s offense.
Keys to victory
- Disciplined first quarter — the Dubs are the better team, so just handle business
- Get out and run, especially when Hassan Whiteside is on the court
- Strong games from Jordan Poole and Kelly Oubre Jr.
Get yourself a winning record, Dubs.