The third time is, evidently, the charm. The Golden State Warriors entered their Thursday night game against the Sacramento Kings with their third seven-game winning streak of the season.
On their first two attempts to win eight straight games, the Dubs fell down. But on the third they marched on, besting the Kings 126-114. Just a few hours earlier, the Phoenix Suns had their 11-game winning streak snapped by the Atlanta Hawks, meaning the Warriors are now proud owners of the longest active winning streak in the league — and, more importantly, a game closer to the Suns.
Not only was the third time the charm, but threes were the charm. The Dubs shot a blistering 47.6% from distance (20-for-42), which helped the game look like a blowout for many stretches.
Naturally, there are some good grades to dole out, but as always, they won’t all be glistening. Let’s grade each player then, weighting for our expectations of them.
28 minutes, 12 points, 1 rebound, 4 assists, 1 turnover, 2 fouls, 5-for-12 shooting, 2-for-4 threes, -1
Wiggins has been on a tear lately, but this was a bit of a quiet game for him. It never really felt like his offense found rhythm, and he struggled to hit the glass (on the one hand, the Warriors, playing extra small with Draymond Green out, could really use some Wiggins boards ... on the other hand, they outrebounded the Kings 40-25, so whatever).
He did continue to show off his dramatically improved playmaking, tallying four assists to just a single turnover, and generally doing good things to set up teammates.
21 minutes, 10 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 turnover, 1 foul, 3-for-3 shooting, 4-for-6 free throws, -3
Looney’s offensive rebounding has gotten to the point where it is visibly annoying his opponents. He held his counterpart, Richaun Holmes (a quite good player), to an incredibly frustrating game: 4 points, 4 rebounds, 4 fouls, 1-for-4 shooting.
My thoughts on the matter:
Kevon Looney was an All-Star snub— Golden State of Mind (@unstoppablebaby) February 4, 2022
I will not be elaborating at this time.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in rebounds.
32 minutes, 20 points, 1 rebound, 7 assists, 2 steals, 4 turnovers, 4 fouls, 7-for-11 shooting, 4-for-7 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, +21
It’s remarkable that Curry is on the short list of greatest scorers in NBA history, yet is so comfortable controlling the game while just taking 11 shots — a number three teammates met or eclipsed.
It wasn’t a lack of aggression, just an understanding of how best to control the game, and an understanding of when to get the ball to Klay Thompson.
Splash Bro ➡️ Splash Bro@StateFarm || Assist of the Night pic.twitter.com/SHLtzEPwFN— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) February 4, 2022
When he did shoot, it was brilliant, and he was in total control as a dime-whipping point guard, too. The four turnovers are less than ideal, but that’s the only stain on an excellent performance, as Curry looks fully rejuvenated now that he’s finally back with his partner in jump shooting crime.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in assists and plus/minus.
24 minutes, 23 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 turnovers, 3 fouls, 8-for-11 shooting, 7-for-9 threes, +20
It wasn’t until Klay had tallied 20 points that he finally missed a shot. To that point he’d made all six attempts from beyond the arc, plus a two-pointer, and had yet to have the rim reject him ... and it was still early in the second quarter.
It was a vintage performance, complete with absurd heat-checks, hilarious celebrations, and an arena that rocked in a way that only Klay can get them to.
In other words, it was perfect.
Klay highlights? KLAY HIGHLIGHTS. pic.twitter.com/6x5hwag4LK— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) February 4, 2022
Also, Klay continues to be a completely new player in the passing department. Seven assists, in just 24 minutes? Sign me up for this!
Post-game bonus: Led the team in points and assists.
24 minutes, 6 points, 4 rebounds, 1 turnover, 1 foul, 2-for-7 shooting, 2-for-5 threes, -8
Moody continues to be a changed man from beyond the arc. Since moving into the starting lineup while Otto Porter Jr. heals up, the No. 14 pick has shot 11-for-20 from distance ... after having shot just 5-for-34 up to that point.
He didn’t have much else going in this game, but I continue to be impressed by his restraint. He doesn’t have a case of the “rookies”, which is to say he’s not trying too hard to be The Man.
Post-game bonus: Worst plus/minus on the team.
26 minutes, 18 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 2 turnovers, 6 fouls, 8-for-10 shooting, 0-for-2 threes, 2-for-4 free throws, +15
Kuminga continues to look like an absolute beast around the rim. While he’s struggled between three and 10 feet, he entered Thursday’s game shooting 75% at the rim, a figure that will go up after a perfect 8-for-8 night from inside the arc.
JK going downhill is a scary sight ⚡️— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) February 4, 2022
The No. 7 pick was the star of the fourth quarter as the Dubs stopped a Kings run, at one point dunking four times in a span of seven possessions. Yes, you read that right, and yes, they were utterly delightful.
KUMINGA, MY WORD pic.twitter.com/paxKUiRqME— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) February 4, 2022
Kuminga is living above the rim pic.twitter.com/XdhORrBqVb— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) February 4, 2022
He has to learn how to rein in some things, hence the fouling out. But my goodness he is blossoming from raw rookie, to intriguing potential, to high-quality player right before our eyes.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in rebounds.
20 minutes, 8 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, 1 foul, 3-for-5 shooting, 2-for-2 threes, +14
When you think of a JTA game, it looks something like this. He fit seamlessly into the offense, knocking down open shots and keeping the ball moving. He set up teammates, always doing what the system wanted him to do. He played the type of defense that infuriates opposing teams, and made the type of effort and hustle plays that would satisfy even your strict high school coach.
Just a great game.
27 minutes, 14 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, 6-for-11 shooting, 2-for-6 threes, +1
Lee looked like he was having fun out there, and while sometimes it was a bit chaotic, it was usually rather effective. Oftentimes it was both, such as on a play that cracked up Bob Fitzgerald and Kelenna Azubuike, featuring Lee 15 feet from the hoop, passing up an open shot and a few open teammates to dribble in a looping path back to the three-point line, where he hoisted and knocked in a triple.
BALL. MOVEMENT.— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) February 4, 2022
What a sequence pic.twitter.com/PmIuyRJymf
It was fun.
Gary Payton II
12 minutes, 3 points, 1 rebound, 1 block, 1 foul, 1-for-5 shooting, 1-for-3 threes, +1
My main takeaway from GP2’s game is that it was great to see him on the court, after he left Tuesday’s game limping his way to the locker room.
He probably would have played a lot more minutes if De’Aaron Fox were healthy, but instead had just a short and mediocre stint in this game.
2 minutes, 0 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 0-for-1 shooting, -1
Weatherspoon didn’t play long enough to get an actual grade, but if I had to give him one, it would be a very positive one for his fearless attempt to yam it on the entire city of Sacramento, and his toughness for getting up after a gnarly fall in his failed pursuit.
25 minutes, 12 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 4 turnovers, 4-for-8 shooting, 0-for-4 threes, 4-for-4 free throws, +1
Four turnovers is a lot, and it came just two games after Poole had five of them. But other than that, it was a really strong game for the third-year guard.
Fitzgerald had a strong point on the broadcast that Poole — who is now shooting a league-leading 92.1% from the charity stripe — is starting to realize that his free throw-shooting is a weapon that he should find a way to use more. That resulted in a very aggressive offensive night, with Poole getting to the line four times, and making all four of his shots from inside the arc.
Poole ended up with a highly efficient scoring night, despite going 0-for-4 from distance. That’s not something that would have been possible with prior iterations of Poole, and his evolution is on full display.
Thursday’s inactives: Nemanja Bjelica, Chris Chiozza, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, Otto Porter Jr., James Wiseman