Almost exactly seven years ago, Klay Thompson scored 37 points in a single quarter against the Sacramento Kings. Since then he’s won three NBA titles, made five All-Star teams, torn his Achilles and his ACL, and become a master of the ocean. But the more things change, the more they stay the same. Klay got white-hot in the second quarter, hitting four straight threes in a stretch of 2:20, giving Kings fans flashbacks to their traumatic memories of January 23, 2015. While Sacramento chipped away in the second half, the huge lead was too much to overcome, and the Golden State Warriors won their eighth straight game, 126-114.
Steph Curry had another big game for the Dubs, with 20 points on just 11 shots, and racking up seven assists. Klay finished with 23 points and seven triples, the most three-pointers he’s made since March of 2019, when he shot 9/11 from deep against Denver - never forget. The greatest Kevon in NBA history, Kevon Looney, had ten points and seven big rebounds. Jonathan Kuminga had 18 points, including four dunks in the 4th quarter, Damion Lee had 14 points and Jordan Poole had 12 off the bench for the Warriors, who got 55 points from their reserves.
For Sacramento, Harrison “The Black Falcon” Barnes soared against his old team, scoring 25 points on just 11 shot attempts. He was matched up against Andrew Wiggins, essentially his own Looper, and played like a man who knows he also could have made an All-Star team if he hadn’t ended up in the NBA purgatories of Dallas and Sacramento. Another former Warrior, Damian Jones, scored 17 points off the bench and tied a career high with five assists. Rookie Davion Mitchell was unstoppable early, even outscoring Klay Thompson with 21 of his 26 points in the first half, and Maurice Harkless went off late, scoring all 18 of his points after halftime to go along with six steals.
At one point, the Warriors led by 26 points, but the dogged Kings rode hot shooting and some disinterested Golden State defense to stay in the game. After a 29-21 third quarter, a Mo Harkless dunk opened the fourth and cut the lead to single digits, That’s when the Warriors went to their new 4th quarter closer, the Smash Brother himself, Jonathan Kuminga. First, JTA hit him for an alley oop. Then, after a Mitchell and-one and Jones blocked a Juan Toscano-Anderson dunk attempt, the lead was down to seven. But when the other team has comeback fever, the only prescription is more Kuminga.
Curry found the rookie for a dunk. The Splash Brother-In-Law hit a three, and JTA found Kuminga for another dunk. Buddy Hield and Curry traded buckets, and then the Warriors got three straight steals and three fast break buckets - two dunks sandwiching a Klay Thompson triple. That was four Kuminga dunks in four minutes, and the Warriors took a 20-point lead, 112-92.
One Kuminga note: Announcer Bob Fitzgerald called him “The Human Helicopter,” which is a nickname that Warriors nation simply cannot allow to take hold. It’s fine if Fitz wants to call him “The Kid From Congo,” but “human helicopter” sounds like a phrase Fitzgerald would work out an an open mic, while he’s trying out different local city names from where Curry could hypothetically launch a three-pointer. Also, a helicopter is both a tool of the military-industrial complex and the police state, and it’s not a particularly evocative image - helicopters hover in a weird way. What, Kuminga reminds him of a TV traffic reporter? Get out of here. Just say no to Human Helicopter!
One problem for Sacramento was that aside from Barnes, the team couldn’t all their players going at once. Harkless and Tyrese Haliburton combined for 28 points in the second half - and combined for zero points in the first half. seven of those Harkless points came in deep garbage time. Jones and Mitchell scored 80% of their points in the first half. And while Buddy Hield went off in the teams’ previous meeting, when the Kings also overcame an early deficit to make things close, this time he was just 2-8 from the field and an absolute sieve on defense.
Gary Payton II returned from his shin injury and didn’t seem hampered by it, particularly with a truly insulting block on a seemingly wide open Tyrese Haliburton.
Steph Curry’s shot seems to be all the way back - thank you Kevin Porter Jr. - but an underrated aspect of his resurgence has been his passing, The best one last night was a cross court laser to Klay Thompson that almost took off a piece of Jones’ ear with it.
And Juan Toscano-Anderson has also broken out of a funk, with three steals and three assists in a very strong 20 minutes, clocking a +14. The undersized Wiggins-JTA power forward rotation with Draymond Green out has started to hit its stride, making up for its lack of height with speed and intense ball-hawking.
It was the 8th straight win for Golden State, who get three days off before heading to Oklahoma City on Monday, and then a rematch with the Utah Jazz, who just lost former Warriors Summer League standout Joe Ingles to an ACL tear. It’s the longest current streak in the NBA, as Phoenix lost last night, which also moved the Warriors to within two games of the conference leaders.