In a game the Golden State Warriors absolutely needed to win, the team came through with a thrilling 126-125 Game 4 victory. The win ties their series with the Sacramento Kings at two games apiece as both teams head back to Sacramento for Game 5.
The big news prior to the Sunday’s matchup was the return of Warriors forward Draymond Green from his one-game suspension in Game 3. However, head coach Steve Kerr decided to roll with the momentum from the previous game and elected to have Green come off the bench in Game 4 instead.
Green’s 31 minutes were not much different than his usual averages per game. He still played a crucial role in closing out quarters, and the staggering of Golden State’s two bigs was key to providing the offense with plenty of spacing. The results were evident early on as Golden State scored their first eight points at the rim, however, careless turnovers plagued them as the Kings got out to a 15-14 lead to start the game.
At the 6:38 mark of the first quarter, Green entered the game to a standing ovation from the Chase Center crowd. He brought some much needed energy to the team, jawing with Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox while making his presence felt on both sides of the floor with six points including a made three in the first quarter.
Rousing ovation when Draymond Green enters for the first time with 6:38 left in 1st Q. pic.twitter.com/5PTpbY2e4F— Janie McCauley (@JanieMcCAP) April 23, 2023
The Kings closed out the quarter on an 11-3 run as they finished the first with a 32-31 lead. Unfortunately for the Warriors, that was just the beginning of a big Sacramento run as the Kings came out firing to start the second quarter as well. They scored 13 points in the first three minutes of the second and seemingly could not miss from deep. The Warriors desperately needed a response, and got one in the form of a momentum shifting 9-0 run to tie the game at 45 a piece. From there, it was a game of runs as both teams traded threes to close out the first half with the Warriors trailing 69-65.
The Warriors began the second half going back to their two big lineup with both Green and Kevon Looney on the floor in an effort to combat the Kings on the boards as well as shore up things on the defensive side. The two bigs did their jobs, snatching rebounds and playing great defense, while the Splash Brothers powered the offense with their unrivaled shooting prowess.
The Warriors outscored the Kings 37-23 in the third quarter, giving them a 10-point lead entering the final period. Kerr decided to keep Curry in the game to start the fourth, but the Kings — unfazed by the Warriors’ offensive splurge — took the championship-caliber punch and responded with a quick 7-0 run of their own.
In peak playoff fashion, both teams kept fighting with the game inevitably coming down to the wire. Every crucial possession had fans holding their collective breaths, but with the Warriors leading 126-121, Curry mistakenly called a timeout even though the team had none remaining. A technical free-throw and a Fox three made it a one-point game with about 10 seconds remaining on the clock. Fox — the winner of the NBA’s Clutch Player of the Year Award — had the ball with the game on the line but defense from Green and Curry forced him to pass it to Harrison Barnes who went on to miss the game-winning three and seal the victory for the Dubs.
The Warriors hold on against the Kings to even series! pic.twitter.com/jsDfV1F2ps— NBA TV (@NBATV) April 23, 2023
Curry finished the game as Golden State’s leading scorer with 32 points, 4 assists, and 5 rebounds on 11-of-22 shooting from the field. Meanwhile, Green struggled with his efficiency, but his 12 points, 10 rebounds, and 7 assists as well as the energy he provided on both sides of the floor were critical in Sunday’s big win. Both teams now head back to Sacramento for Game 5 on Wednesday as the series becomes a best of three the rest of the way.