Levels To This Game: Kings still aren’t where the Warriors are now, lose 119-107

By Morris Phillips

SACRAMENTO–At Golden 1 Center on Sunday night, the storylines didn’t budge much.

The Kings remain enamored with the Warriors’ style, the small lineups, relentless pace, 3-ball hunting and daring panache.

But the Kings haven’t quite poached their neighbor’s game to the extent needed to prevail.

That, and the Warriors still have Steph, Draymond along with emerging depth.

Golden State broke open a tight game with a 7-2 run to end the third quarter, then pulled away in the fourth, grabbing a 119-107 win over the Kings to stay undefeated.

After dropping their second home game to begin the season, the Kings are 1-2.

“We need to be better in the fourth quarter,” Kings’ coach Luke Walton said. “Part of the problem is we’re slowing the pace down. We have to get out and go.”

“We have to finish games,” said Davion Mitchell, who scored a career-best 22 points. “Throughout the game we have leads, (then) they go on their run and we have a lot of turnovers.”

The Kings were competitive for the first three quarters. Mitchell had 19 of his 22 during that stretch, and Harrison Barnes all of his 24 points, but they unraveled in the fourth, while committing 19 turnovers over the course of the game. Barnes was limited to one miss and three rebounds when he returned with 7:06 remaining, and the Kings trailing 102-98.

Stephen Curry (27 points, and his 500th career assist) and Jordan Poole (20 points) paced the Warriors’ attack, which put six players in double figures.

The Kings got 17 points from De’Aaron Fox, and 16 points and 11 rebounds from Richaun Holmes. Buddy Hield was limited to six points, missing nine of his 11 shots in 25 minutes on the floor.

The Kings matched the Warriors in assists (26 each), made more threes (15-13 edge), and they even mimicked their reduced-sized lineups, but the Warriors were just sharper. The visitors created more high-percentage shot attempts, and backed it up with 20 of 24 made free throws, they set more effective screens, and enjoyed a 12-0 edge in steals.

Draymond Green had a hand in all those areas, as did Otto Porter Jr. Green finished with 14 points, six rebounds, six assists, and Porter had five points, nine rebounds, three assists, three steals and a block in 24 minutes off the bench.

“We were rock solid with the ball,” coach Steve Kerr said. “We had multiple guys come in off the bench and play well.”

The Kings didn’t have anyone in their nine-man rotation struggle other than Hield with his shooting, but the playmaking from their guard quartet of Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, Hield and Mitchell was a mixed bag. The four tallied 22 assists, but committed 13 turnovers and the Kings were held to 19 points in the fourth.

Also, Walton wasn’t pleased that Warriors’ reserves ruled the first half of the fourth, and his team did little to stop it.

“You can’t do that, you can’t give Steph Curry and Draymond Green a six-point lead when they come back in the game. It just can’t happen,” Walton said. “We talked about it as a staff, as a team, really. But it’s one thing to talk about. It’s another thing to go out there and do it.”

Nemanja Bjelica, the former King, had the least effective game of his three thus far for the Warriors, missing all five of his shots in 10 minutes of action.

Sacramento opens a four-game road trip in Phoenix against the Suns on Wednesday night.

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