by Charlie O. Mallonee
The Sacramento Kings won in Oakland for the second time this season as they defeated the World Champion Golden State Warriors 98-93 on Friday night. Yes, the Warriors were shorthanded as Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant were all on the bench in street clothes due to injury but that is exactly when a team must take advantage of an opponent. “Kick ’em when they’re down” is the motto of successful teams.
The Golden State bench is also better than many of the starting lineups for non-playoff teams in the NBA. A team does not win a championship without having a very strong second unit and bench. The Warriors certainly meet those requirements.
Two Kings players who did not have terrific performances early in the contest came up big late in the game. De’Aaron Fox scored four of his six points in the final two minutes and forty-seconds of the game. Willie Cauley-Stein took a charge and then blocked a 3-point attempt by Nick Young that led to a game punctuating slam dunk that would seal the win for Sacramento.
- Buddy Hield not only led the Kings in scoring with 22 points but he provided a scoring punch that kept his team in the game when Warriors threatened to runaway with the contest. Hield not only led his team in scoring but he pulled down seven rebounds and distributed seven assists in just over 30 minutes of playing time.
- Skal Labissiere returned to the floor after being out with a bruised hip that he suffered in a hard fall under the basket. The second-year power forward put up 15 points, grabbed five rebounds and dished out three assists. Labisissiere hit 3-of-4 attempts from 3-point land. He played just over 25 minutes in his return to action.
- Kosta Koufos continued to be an impact player for the Kings as he scored five points and more importantly hauled in game-high 12 rebounds. Five of his rebounds came on offense which led to second chance scoring opportunities.
- Other Kings scorers: Bogdanovic 11 points, Cauley-Stein 9, Mason 9, Jackson 8, Temple 8, Fox 6 and Randolph 5.
- Two-way player, point guard Quinn Cook made a real case that he should be playing in the NBA full-time next season by leading the Warriors with 25 points versus the Kings. Cook shot 10-for-13 overall and hit 5-of-7 from behind the 3-point arc.
- Nick “Swaggy P” Young recorded 16 points but shot just 5-for-15 from the field and 3-for-8 from downtown.
- Draymond Green recorded a double-double scoring 14 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. He also led GSW with seven assists.
- Andre Iguodala added 11 points, four rebounds, two assists and one steal.
- Former King Omri Casspi started the game strong with six points but had to leave the floor after playing just over six-minutes when came down on the foot of teammate’s foot and twisted his ankle.
By the Numbers
- The Kings shot 43.4-percent (36-for-43) from the floor. They converted 14-of-31 (45.2-percent) from 3-point range.
- SAC went to the free throw line 17 times and hit 12 of those opportunities (70.6-percent).
- Sacramento out-rebounded the Warriors 47-40 in the game. They grabbed 11 offensive rebounds and 36 rebounds on defense. The scored 16 second chance points (7-for-15) in the game.
- The Kings recorded 25 assists and 14 turnovers. The TOVs resulted in 17 GSW points.
Golden State (52-17)
- This loss dropped the Warriors two and one-half games behind the Western Conference leading Houston Rockets. If the season ended tonight, Golden State’s first round playoff opponent would be the Utah Jazz.
- GSW shot 42-percent (34-for-81) for the game. They hit 12-of-26 (46.2-percent) 3-point shots.
- They converted 13-of-18 (72.2-percent) chances from the free throw line.
- The Warriors had 21 assists and committed 12 turnovers which became 17 Sacramento points.
SAC will be back in action tomorrow night in Salt Lake City as they face the Utah Jazz in back end of of back-to-back road set. Ricky Rubio will not play after being injured in the Suns game on Thursday. They will have to face former King and Reno Big Horn David Stockton who has been signed by the Jazz to a 10-day contract.
GSW will also complete a back-to-back set on Saturday night in Phoenix versus the Suns. The Warriors are hoping that their game will not be as physical as the Suns versus the Jazz game was on Thursday night.