After a pretty ugly stretch, the Golden State Warriors are starting to play some quality basketball again, and that was on full display during a 109-90 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Sunday night.
Sure, the Kings are a bad basketball team, and yes, they were without both Domantas Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox, but the Warriors were without the Splash Brothers, and Sacramento still had incentive to give it their all, as they weren’t yet eliminated from the playoffs (they are now, increasing their streak of missed postseasons to 16).
Save for a few hiccups, the Dubs played really well in Sacramento. So let’s grade the players, weighting for our expectations of each.
Note: League-average true-shooting percentage (TS) was 56.5% entering Monday.
24 minutes, 6 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 3 turnovers, 6 fouls, 2-for-5 shooting, 2-for-2 threes, 60.0% TS, +11
It’s definitely too small of a sample to read into, but seeing Dray knock down both of his threes was nice. A few of those could sway a postseason series.
Otherwise it was a hot and cold game for Green. He did a little bit of everything, as is his style. But he also turned the ball over a bit and fouled out in just 24 minutes of action. He’s still finding his groove since returning from a long absence, but he’s starting to round into form.
Draymond with a perfect dish to GP2 pic.twitter.com/PsOYTueY1f— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) April 4, 2022
Most notable was probably Green’s energy and engagement level, which has been off the charts in the last three games. It’s pretty clear that Dray sees it as go time now that the playoffs are around the corner.
36 minutes, 25 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover, 2 fouls, 8-for-16 shooting, 4-for-7 threes, 5-for-6 free throws, 67.1% TS, +7
Now that was a game befitting an NBA All-Star.
Wiggins dropped in 25 points for the first time since New Year’s Day, and he made it look absolutely effortless against Sacramento’s helpless defense. He knocked down threes, which made you excited to see him on the court next to Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, benefitting from their space and gravity. He attacked the rim and got good looks at the basket, as well as a few freebies (and made his free throws!). He dished the rock, crashed the glass, and committed on defense.
Wiggs drills a big 3-pointer pic.twitter.com/iNtQXyDI0F— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) April 4, 2022
A great performance all around, and a wonderful thing to see.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in points.
15 minutes, 0 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover, 2 fouls, 0-for-1 shooting, 0.0% TS, +9
Looney’s role remains small, and it will stay that way until Curry returns to the court. The Warriors just won’t spend much time sacrificing shooting when they’re already in short supply of it.
Gary Payton II
19 minutes, 2 points, 3 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 turnover, 4 fouls, 1-for-4 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 25.0% TS, +10
GPII didn’t make a huge impact in this game, but he did make a big impact in the sleep quality of Davion Mitchell, who will be having nightmares about Payton’s on-ball defense for many months to come.
34 minutes, 22 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 block, 4 turnovers, 5 fouls, 9-for-15 shooting, 4-for-9 threes, 73.3% TS, +19
What’s there left to say about Poole that hasn’t already been said? With Thompson and Curry sidelined, JP was the focal point of the offense. And he’s not only embracing that role, but absolutely thriving in it.
POOLE LOST 'EM pic.twitter.com/m7IFAgosM3— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) April 4, 2022
The amount that he’s learned from the Splash Brothers was on full display in Sacramento, as we saw the evolution of his off-ball movement. He was racing around screens, springing free for jumpers, chasing hand-offs, and showing off his greatly-improved chemistry with Dray.
The turnovers and fouls were certainly not ideal, but they’re pretty easy to excuse given the load he’s being asked to carry.
17 straight games with 20 or more points now. That is absurd.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in plus/minus.
30 minutes, 19 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 blocks, 2 turnovers, 1 foul, 7-for-11 shooting, 3-for-6 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, 80.0% TS, +9
Wow. Just an epic performance from Bjelica, clearly the best of the year.
He manipulated defenses with his passing in such a way that it evoked Nikola Jokić’s name from broadcaster Bob Fitzgerald ... perhaps a silly comparison on most days, but a very fitting one on Sunday.
The scoring is coming around for Bjeli, and he’s being far more aggressive, not just as a scorer but as a rebounder and defender, too. There are still some matchups that he’s going to struggle in, but Sunday’s game was a reminder that he could play a huge role in a playoff series.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in rebounds and assists.
31 minutes, 17 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 turnover, 2 fouls, 6-for-11 shooting, 2-for-3 threes, 3-for-6 free throws, 62.3% TS, +12
Sometimes a really bad team is just what the doctor ordered. Kuminga had been struggling lately, but a visit up the road to face a lottery-bound team was just what he needed to get back on track.
He played strong defense. He attacked the basket and showed off both his athleticism and finesse. He knocked down open shots. He flipped a few dimes. And he did this:
Rook jumped so high, his head nearly touched rim @Kia || Dunk of the Night pic.twitter.com/b7WEzURxbn— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) April 4, 2022
Very good game from the rook.
20 minutes, 4 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 1 block, 1 turnover, 4 fouls, 2-for-4 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 50.0% TS, +6
It’s always nice to see JTA get some serious playing time, and with the Warriors resting Andre Iguodala and Otto Porter Jr. — plus Dray having limited minutes with foul issues — Toscano’s number got called repeatedly.
It wasn’t a sensational performance, but it was a solid one, and solid is important.
28 minutes, 11 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 1 turnover, 2 fouls, 5-for-10 shooting, 0-for-3 threes, 1-for-1 free throws, 52.7% TS, +11
I don’t know if this was intentional or not, but it felt like a good move for Steve Kerr to rest a lot of players and get some serious run for the bench. Like JTA, Lee benefitted from the absence of Iguodala and Porter, as well as Klay. As a result, he got 28 minutes of action — which came after two straight DNP-CDs.
As Kerr knows from his time as a player — this famously happened with him while on the San Antonio Spurs — it’s not uncommon for a coach to call on a seldom-used player in a big moment of a playoff game, and you have to think Lee will be a little more ready now, if he is that player.
1 minute, 0 points, 0-for-1 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 0.0% TS, -2
Garbage time for Weatherspoon, which earned him the unlucky distinction of being the only Warriors player with a negative plus/minus.
Post-game bonus: Worst plus/minus on the team.
2 minutes, 3 points, 1 rebound, 1-for-1 shooting, 1-for-1 threes, 150.0% TS, +3
This is called getting virtually no playing time but making the absolute most of it anyway.
Sunday’s inactives: Chris Chiozza, Steph Curry, Andre Iguodala, Otto Porter Jr., Klay Thompson, James Wiseman