In one of the worst postseason losses of the Steph Curry era, the Golden State Warriors lost 118-99 to the Sacramento Kings. Despite having home-court advantage and an opportunity to advance to the Western Conference Semifinals, the Warriors were disjointed and seemed overwhelmed by the Kings.
Sacramento jumped out to an 8-0 lead, forcing an early timeout from Warriors head coach Steve Kerr. Curry scored the next six points in the game to close the gap, and both teams went back and fourth before a corner three by Donte DiVincenzo in the final minute of the quarter gave the Dubs a 25-23 lead, their first of the game.
The Kings would retake the lead early in the second quarter, and would never relinquish it again. They did it despite a horrendous performance from Domantas Sabonis, who fouled out in 23 minutes of action and recorded nearly as many turnovers (5) as points (7).
De’Aaron Fox was the Kings leader, as per usual, scoring 26 points on 18 field-goal attempts alongside 11 assists. But it was a pair of bench players, Trey Lyles and Malik Monk, who put Sacramento over the top.
Monk finished 8-for-14 from the field with a team-high 28 points and was impressive on both ends of the floor. He also added 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks over his 31 minutes.
The other bench standout was Lyles, who Kings head coach Mike Brown used as his primary backup big in place of Alex Len. The stretch five gave the Warriors problems all night, finishing with a double-double (12 points and 10 rebounds). Most importantly, the Dubs no longer had a prolonged opportunity to capitalize on having a plodder like Len on the court.
One stretch in the third quarter summed up the Warriors night. Donte DiVincenzo missed an open transition three that the Kings turned into a Monk triple. Jordan Poole answered with his first (and only) three of the game, but Sacramento did not flinch. Fox quickly dribbled up court and made a pull up triple.
Poole tried to keep the momentum going. He made an excellent dribble move to get inside, but as was the case for much of the night, he rushed his attempted finish and missed the shot. Seven seconds later, Monk knocked down another triple to give the Kings an 11-point lead.
The Kings have rarely flinched throughout this series, and while Curry heated up to score 10 of the Warriors first 13 points in the fourth quarter, Sacramento continued to answer. The Dubs never pulled within striking distance.
While Steph never left the sideline, he did appear to have some discomfort in his knee after diving out of bounds on a play in the first half. There were a couple points throughout the rest of their game where he seemed to be favoring his knee. With a Game 7 looming, Dub Nation has to hope that it’s not an injury that could persist.
Kings guard Terence Davis and forward Domantas Sabonis both fouled out with more than five minutes remaining in regulation. But before the Warriors could get any run going, Kevin Huerter caught fire and made a pair of threes to give the Kings a 16-point lead, which was their largest lead of the series.
It’s all going to come down to Game 7, and given how this series has played out, it sure feels fitting that it will. The Warriors, and most of NBA media, thought Golden State’s star power would let them coast, but the Kings have proven that their regular-season track record was far from fool’s gold. If the Warriors want to advance to the Western Conference Semifinals, they’ll have to win another game on the road.