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Player grades: Warriors vs. Kings Game 3

Assessing every Golden State player’s performance from the team’s 114-97 win over Sacramento.

Steph Curry dribbling around Domantas Sabonis Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

And just like that, we have ourselves a series. The Golden State Warriors had their backs against the wall on Thursday night, needing a win but not having Draymond Green or Gary Payton II available. And they not only got a win, but landed a blowout win that completely shifted the momentum of the series.

I’m tempted to give everyone an A+ for their efforts in the most important game of the season, but I’ll exercise restraint. Let’s grade them all though, weighting for our expectations of each player, with a “B” grade representing how I expect that player to perform.

Note: True-shooting percentage (TS) is a scoring efficiency metric that accounts for threes and free throws. League-average TS this year was 58.2%.

Kevon Looney

31 minutes, 4 points, 20 rebounds, 9 assists, 1 steal, 2 turnovers, 1 foul, 2-for-6 shooting, 33.3% TS, +21

Before we get into the actual performance, let’s admire the theatrics of Looney’s performance.

A legend.

Fun numbers notwithstanding, Looney’s performance was legendary.

He gobbled up every rebound that came near him, finishing with not just 20 total boards, but nine on the offensive end. His defense against Domantas Sabonis was nothing short of elite, and Sabonis — who finished with 15 points on 14 shots and six turnovers — was visibly frustrated all night long.

In Draymond’s absence, Looney not only played all-world defense, but also was an extraordinary playmaker, putting himself in rare company.

Stars don’t have to score 25 points. Sometimes they just need to dominate the game in other ways.

And Looney was nothing if not a star on Thursday.

Grade: A+

Post-game bonus: Led the team in rebounds and assists.

Andrew Wiggins

34 minutes, 20 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, 2 turnovers, 3 fouls, 8-for-16 shooting, 3-for-6 threes, 1-for-2 free throws, 59.2% TS, +17

Easily Wiggins’ best game since returning to the team. His defense on De’Aaron Fox was superb, and he scored with a serious sense of the moment. His rebounding returned to 2022 playoff levels, which could be a difference maker for this team.

I don’t have too much to say, honestly. He just played really, really well.

Grade: A

Steph Curry

37 minutes, 36 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 1 turnover, 4 fouls, 12-for-25 shooting, 6-for-12 threes, 6-for-6 free throws, 65.1% TS, +24

The defense was incredible. The energy was incredible. The bench was incredible. Looney was incredible.

But if you had to distill the win down to two things, they would be these: the Warriors finally took care of the ball, and they survived the minutes when Curry was on the bench.

Steve Kerr made a huge adjustment for this game that proved pivotal. Rather than giving Curry his usual five-six minutes of rest at a time, he benched Curry more frequently, for shorter bursts. The result was that the Kings were never able to build the type of sustained run that defined the first two games of the series.

And despite being the focal point of everything the Dubs did, Curry only turned the ball over one time. He was ultra locked in, and clearly the best player on the court.

Grade: A+

Post-game bonus: Led the team in points and plus/minus.

Klay Thompson

35 minutes, 13 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 2 turnovers, 5-for-15 shooting, 3-for-10 threes, 43.3% TS, +16

Klay wasn’t much of a factor in this game, though the good news is he caught fire in the waning minutes, so hopefully that rhythm will carry over to Sunday’s Game 4.

Still, despite not playing his best, Klay was second on the team in minutes, and there’s a reason for that. Kerr and the Warriors players trust Klay, he makes winning plays, and his gravity helps open up the offense, no matter how he’s shooting.

I thought this was his best defensive game of the series, and he was more active on the glass than the rebound total would indicate.

Grade: C

Jordan Poole

28 minutes, 16 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, 1 turnover, 2 fouls, 4-for-13 shooting, 1-for-7 threes, 7-for-8 free throws, 48.4% TS, +13

Another not-good shooting night for Poole, but he does deserve some benefit of the doubt, seeing as how he’s playing on, as Klay called it, one foot. The four assists don’t do his playmaking justice, and he was vital in that area with Draymond not playing.

Grade: C+

Jonathan Kuminga

13 minutes, 6 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 2 fouls, 3-for-7 shooting, 0-for-2 threes, 0-for-2 free throws, 38.1% TS, +6

Kuminga played a much bigger role than in the first two games, which wasn’t surprising given the absences. His play was so-so. He definitely gave Sacramento a different look with his athleticism, but also had a few poor plays and some blown assignments on defense.

Grade: B-

JaMychal Green

10 minutes, 0 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 3 fouls, 0-for-2 shooting, 0-for-2 threes, 0.0% TS, -4

Green got some extended run and looked pretty good defending Alex Len, who has given the Dubs fits in this series. He even looked good defending Sabonis on a few possessions.

This is the playoff role for JMG. Replace people who are injured/suspended/in foul trouble, or come into games for a spot of energy in the right matchup.

Grade: B

Anthony Lamb

7 minutes, 0 points, 1 block, 1 turnover, 0-for-1 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 0.0% TS, -3

We knew Lamb was likely to get some playing time in this game, given the players who were out. The minutes were forgettable, save for an awesome blocked corner three.

Grade: C

Patrick Baldwin Jr.

2 minutes, 0 points, 1 rebound, -5

PBJ got his first taste of playoff basketball, albeit in garbage time. Still counts!

Grade: Incomplete

Post-game bonus: Tied for the worst plus/minus on the team.

Donte DiVincenzo

27 minutes, 6 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, 4 steals, 3 turnovers, 1 foul, 2-for-8 shooting, 1-for-5 threes, 1-for-2 free throws, 33.8% TS, +5

An absolutely incredible performance off the bench for DDV, who had perhaps the play of the year.

He finished the game with “only” four steals, but I’d bet he disrupted at least 10 plays with his defense. He was an absolute menace on that end of the court, filling the hole left by GPII, while filling the whole left by Dray in the playmaking department.

What an absolute weapon.

Grade: A

Moses Moody

16 minutes, 13 points, 3 rebounds, 3 fouls, 4-for-7 shooting, 2-for-5 threes, 3-for-3 free throws, 78.1% TS, -5

First, a note on plus/minus. Don’t look too much into the players on the Warriors with a bad plus/minus in this series. It really only tells us one thing: that those players spent a good amount of time on the court when Curry was on the bench.

This was one of the best games Moody has every played, and he followed it up with a fire quote at the podium.

For those who have been critical that the Warriors didn’t play Moody more earlier in the year, well ... I highly recommend reading this article by Shayna Rubin of the Mercury News.

Grade: A

Post-game bonus: Tied for the worst plus/minus on the team.

Thursday’s inactives: Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, Gary Payton II, Ryan Rollins

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