There were two ways the Golden State Warriors game could go after the Sacramento Kings announced they were sitting out De’Aaron Fox, Domantas Sabonis, Kevin Huerter and Malik Monk Friday night, with the two seed all but out of reach. One, the Warriors would blitz the shorthanded Kings and run away with it, putting them a win over the Portland Trail Blazers away from clinching a playoff spot. Two, the team could relax and start throwing the ball all over the court and blow the game.
There were shades of both, but ultimately Alex Len, Kessler Edwards, and the Black Falcon himself, Harrison Barnes, were no match for the defending champions, who won at the Golden 1 Center, 119-97. The Warriors won’t have to see the beam lit until next weekend at least!
The Splash Brothers led the way for Golden State, along with their red-headed cousin from Delaware, Donte DiVincenzo. Klay Thompson had 29 points and two blocks, Steph Curry had 25 points and six assists, and the Michael Jordan of Delaware had 18 points on ten shots and eight assists.
The trio combined for 12 three-pointers as the team went 16-36 from deep as a team, including 2-2 from Jonathan Kuminga and 2-3 from Gary Payton II. The team also had a staggering 35 assists, including seven from the Ground-Bound Mound of Rebound, Kevon Looney, who also pulled down 16 rebounds, five of them offensive.
They came out of the blocks fast, starting the game on an 11-3 run and denying every King except Barnes for nearly four minutes. Looney got some offensive boards to set up threes, as per usual. They eventually got the lead up to 30-13, and finished the first up 32-16.
Loon keeps the possession alive for a Steph three pic.twitter.com/nGwh8lYpre— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) April 8, 2023
But then the bench couldn’t score, and Sacramento started the second quarter with a run of their own, starting off 13-2 and 19-4, thanks to, what else, a three-point barrage on the road. Curry and Payton restored order somewhat with seven points each but the halftime lead was only five points.
Then, the Dubs hit four triples in the first three-and-a-half minutes, thanks in part to a signature DiVincenzo third quarter burst. We need a Warriors insider to discover exactly what he eats, drinks, or listens to at halftime because he’s been on fire to start second halves recently.
The Big Ragu also had a big steal and assist to Curry to put the Warriors up 20 points and give the starters false hope that they might get the 4th quarter off.
Steve Kerr was loving this play pic.twitter.com/4RXRvFUwJ6— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) April 8, 2023
Still, it wouldn’t be a Golden State Warriors road game without some terrible turnovers. The Dubs led by 20 halfway through the third quarter, but gave half of that lead back during an 11-0 Kings run that featured four Warriors turnovers and seven personal fouls. Jonathan Kuminga ended the run but paid for it when P.J. Dozier clobbered him on his way to the rim.
Kuminga came down hard on the ground after being hit on the arm in mid-air pic.twitter.com/nPXZ4ut2gd— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) April 8, 2023
After review, it was called a common foul, but we feel like it was an exceptional two-shot foul.
In the fourth, the Kings weren’t exactly making a game out of it, but they also weren’t going away until Payton stuffed Terance Davis and hit a dagger three on the other end.
This whole GP2 sequence is special pic.twitter.com/EZ6O94WmHA— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) April 8, 2023
Then Klay Thompson put the game away. He scored 11 straight Warriors points to stretch the lead to 22 points. After a Curry layup and two DiVincenzo drives to the hoop, the game was effectively over and Steve Kerr cleared his bench.
Now it comes down to Sunday, where the Warriors can clinch - on the last day of the season - and watch the Clippers results to see where they land. Steve Kerr doesn’t think they played at a playoff level tonight, but that was also true last season. One more win, and they face the real Kings and a real playoff crowd in a week. Northern California may never be the same.