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Player grades: Warriors vs. Kings

Assessing every Golden State player’s performance in the team’s 124-123 loss to Sacramento.

Draymond Green talking with Steve Kerr. Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

I feel like I’ve already said this five times this year, but the Golden State Warriors just lost their most heartbreaking game of the year. They blew a 24-point lead. They had a prime opportunity to not just win, but advance to the knockout stage of the NBA’s inaugural in-season tournament.

And instead they lost in dramatic and fairly pathetic fashion, losing 124-123 after a Malik Monk game-winner.

I’d rather not talk about this one any more, but sadly I must. So here are some grades. As always, grades are based on my expectations for each player, with a “B” grade representing the average performance for that player.

Note: True-shooting percentage (TS) is a scoring efficiency metric that accounts for threes and free throws. Entering Tuesday’s games, league-average TS was 57.5%.

Draymond Green

33 minutes, 8 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, 4 turnovers, 4 fouls, 3-for-8 shooting, 2-for-4 threes, 50.0% TS, +5

The Warriors have been a significantly better team this year when Green plays, and for the first half of his return from a five-game suspension, that was on full display. But as the game started to become shaky, so too did Dray. His four turnovers were remarkably costly, including a poor pass with under 30 seconds remaining that led to the Kings’ go-ahead bucket.

He had some untimely fouls and another technical foul, which seemed very weak ... but then again, one never knows what might have been said.

Green being back is a very good thing, but that was only sporadically true on Tuesday.

Grade: C

Kevon Looney

29 minutes, 2 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 4 fouls, 0-for-1 shooting, 2-for-4 free throws, 36.2% TS, +5

You wouldn’t think Looney had a good game if you looked at his stat line. But things look a lot better if you look at Domantas Sabonis’ stat line ... namely the 2-for-7 shooting and the negative plus/minus. Looney played fantastic defense in this game, and it was needed.

Grade: B

Andrew Wiggins

36 minutes, 29 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 turnovers, 5 fouls, 11-for-18 shooting, 2-for-5 threes, 5-for-6 free throws, 70.3% TS, -1

I thought this was Wiggins’ best game of the season, by far. Simply put, it was everything Golden State wants him to be. He made open shots, and when he wasn’t open he kept the ball moving, instead of holding it.

He attacked the basket with extreme aggression, using a combination of athleticism, finesse, and brute force to get close buckets and draw fouls. He was arguably the biggest part of the team’s dominant second quarter, and put the team on his back during stretches of the third quarter. He was relentless on the glass, and while Sacramento’s guards had good games, it was more a case of great offense beating great defense.

It’s unfair — though perhaps poetic given this season — that the game-winning bucket was scored on Wiggins ... after he had a phenomenal defensive possession.

It wasn’t all perfect, as the turnovers, fouls, and fourth-quarter absences point to. But it was a damn good game that gives me a lot of hope about the team going forward.

Grade: A
Post-game bonus: Tied for the team lead in points.

Steph Curry

37 minutes, 29 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 block, 5 turnovers, 5 fouls, 8-for-20 shooting, 4-for-12 threes, 9-for-9 free throws, 60.5% TS, +7

I’m truthfully not very sure what to make of Curry’s game. There was a lot of good and a lot of bad. He came out strong and he nearly willed the team to victory late, all while playing a huge role in the Dubs winning the rebounding battle.

He was also a turnover machine, played pretty bad defense, and made some boneheaded mistakes, including yet another turnover inside the final minute.

Curry was electric, but on Tuesday they needed him to be careful.

Grade: B
Post-game bonus: Tied for the team lead in points, led the team in assists, best plus/minus on the team.

Klay Thompson

36 minutes, 20 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 3 turnovers, 2 fouls, 6-for-15 shooting, 3-for-10 threes, 5-for-6 free throws, 56.7% TS, -5

When the Dubs were dominating this game, I was less excited about the potential in-season tournament advancement, or what I thought was going to be a win. I was more excited about the performance of Thompson and Wiggins, and what it meant for the team going forward. It’s no secret that both have been struggling mightily, and it’s also no secret that the Warriors have championship potential when those two don’t struggle.

Klay, often known as a player who only fills up one column on the stat sheet, had perhaps the most well-rounded game of any Warrior. He was the game’s leader in rebounds and co-leader in blocks. In a game where Golden State committed a whopping (and terrifying) 31 fouls, Klay had just two, in 36 minutes. His assist total was low, but he did an exquisite job moving the basketball and getting the offense into its flow.

It wasn’t a super efficient game, but it wasn’t inefficient either. Just really good basketball, I thought, though the Warriors will want to see more in the fourth quarter.

Grade: A-
Post-game bonus: Led the team in rebounds.

Dario Šarić

17 minutes, 10 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 fouls, 3-for-7 shooting, 2-for-4 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, 63.5% TS, -10

The Warriors really needed Šarić’s offense in this game. Unfortunately, his defense kept him off the court for most of it. He’s been better defensively than most expected this year, but there are going to be games and matchups where he has a hard time surviving on that end of the court enough to shine on the other end. This was one such night, though it didn’t help that he couldn’t play much with Chris Paul.

Grade: C
Post-game bonus: Worst plus/minus on the team.

Jonathan Kuminga

10 minutes, 0 points, 1 rebound, 2 turnovers, 3 fouls, 0-for-3 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 0.0% TS, +4

There were quite a few shades of rookie year Kuminga in this one, where he just looked a little bit lost. He didn’t force the issue as much as he used to, but it felt a bit like the game was moving too fast for him on both ends of the court. His on-ball defense was solid, but everything else was fairly bad.

Grade: D-

Chris Paul

5 minutes, 3 points, 2 steals, 1 foul, 1-for-2 shooting, 1-for-2 threes, 75.0% TS, 0 plus/minus

Given how badly Golden State struggled with turnovers in this game, and how Paul has been one of their best players this year, I think it’s fairly safe to presume that they would have won if he had played the whole game. Unfortunately he left the game early with lower leg soreness, and wouldn’t return.

Here’s hoping everything’s OK with CP3.

Grade: Incomplete

Cory Joseph

8 minutes, 4 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1-for-2 shooting, 2-for-2 free throws, 69.4% TS, +1

Joseph was thrust into emergency action when Paul went down with an injury. I’m not entirely sure why Steve Kerr turned to CoJo over Brandin Podziemski, but it certainly worked out well. This was easily Joseph’s best stint as a Warrior, and a reminder as to why Mike Dunleavy Jr. saw him as a quality insurance policy this offseason.

He made sure the offense got set, kept the ball moving, took care of the rock, and played good defense. Really good minutes.

Grade: A

Gary Payton II

17 minutes, 7 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 1 block, 1 turnover, 3 fouls, 3-for-4 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 1-for-1 free throws, 78.8% TS, -9

One of the biggest stories of this game was Payton leaving late in the third quarter after sustaining an injury. Unlike Paul’s injury, GPII was in noticeable pain, and holding the back of his leg. It could be minor, but it definitely could be serious, too. It was determined to be a calf injury, but the severity isn’t known.

He had a few of the biggest plays in this game, including a remarkable steal and buzzer-beating floater to end the first quarter.

Grade: A-/I’m worried

Moses Moody

13 minutes, 11 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists, 1 foul, 4-for-4 shooting, 3-for-3 threes, 137.5% TS, -2

I don’t think Warriors fans will be particularly happy that Kerr removed Moody after he was seemingly the team’s only fourth-quarter offense, making big shot after big shot. It started with a tone-setting baseline drive-and-dunk to open the frame, and ended with a trio of triplets.

Moody started the fourth quarter, and was removed for good with 4:26 remaining. At that point he had scored 11 points in the frame. The rest of the Warriors had scored a grand total of one point.

It’s always easier to coach with hindsight, and if Kerr had left Moody in while he heat-checked himself, there would have been an equal amount of criticism. But a 24-point lead might have been a blowout loss, rather than a heartbreaker, had it not been for Moody’s fourth-quarter contributions.

Grade: A

Tuesday’s DNPs: Trayce Jackson-Davis, Brandin Podziemski, Gui Santos

Tuesday’s inactives: Usman Garuba, Lester Quiñones, Jerome Robinson

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