By Charlie O. Mallonee
No matter who won the game, the opening paragraph was going to be the same. For one team it would be a well-deserved, hard fought victory and for the other team it would be a heartbreaking loss.
It was a well-deserved, hard fought 115-113 victory for the Golden State Warriors and a heartbreaking loss for the Sacramento Kings. The game literally came down to the final second on Sunday in Sacramento.
The fact that the game came down to last moment was a testament to the Sacramento Kings bench who did everything they were asked to do and more. With 2:08 left to play in the third quarter, the Kings trailed Golden State 88-72. Kings Head Coach Michael Malone said his team could have lost by 30 or fought back in attempt to win the game. The Kings fought back and Malone seemed very proud of his players.
The fourth quarter began with the Kings down by 10 points (GSW 90-SAC 80). Malone went with Patterson, Salmons, Thomas, Thornton and Hayes to start the period. That group closed the gap to six points. Green hit a 3-Pointer for the Warriors to make it a nine point lead as time was called with 8:13 to go in the game.
Coming out of the timeout, Cousins entered the game for Hayes. Cousins had an immediate impact with an assist and driving dunk that cut the Warrior lead to six.
Following an Isaiah Thomas steal and a Marcus Thornton 25 foot jump shot, the Warrior lead was down to one.
The Kings took the lead on a Thomas 3-Pointer off an assist from Cousins 104-102.
The game continued to see-saw back and forth. With 47.8 seconds to play, the game was tied at 111-111. Draymond Green put the Warriors back on top with a put-back of a Curry missed jumper.
After a 20 second timeout, Cousins hit a five foot jump hook to re-tie the game at 113-113. Salmons fouled Curry who hit both of his free throws to put the Warriors back in front 115-113.
Isaiah Thomas missed a lay-up with 1.8 seconds left to play. Bogut grabbed the rebound and the game was over. Golden State had defeated the Kings 115-113.
After the game Head Coach Michael Malone said, “Our guys have a ‘no quit’ attitude. I challenge them a lot. I never want them to be a team that just rolls over. What I like about our guys is that it could’ve been a 16 point deficit that turned into 30 but it turned into a two point lead and giving ourselves a chance. We were only one defensive rebound away from winning that game. The challenge that we have as a team is to stay together and find ways to close things out. Yes, we play the toughest schedule in the NBA but the reality is that we have another team coming in Tuesday night that’s not going to feel sorry for us. We have to do a better job at taking care of the ball and defending at a much higher level.”
The Kings came into the needing to shoot better on offense and to do a better job of defending the other team especially from beyond the 3-Point line. They accomplished one of those two goals on Sunday.
The Kings took advantage of a Warriors team that does not play great defense. Sacramento shot 52.6% (40/76) from the field and shot an impressive 47.4% (9/19) for 3-Pointers. As a team, they shot 85.7% (24/28) from the Free Throw Line. On offense, the Kings did a great job.
Their defense however let them down. The Kings allowed Golden State to shoot 51.2% (42/82) overall and an incredible 60.0% (15/25) from 3-Point land. Stephen Curry scored 38 points with 15 of those points coming from beyond the arc. Klay Thompson scored 28 points and 24 of his points came off of eight 3-Point goals.
DeMarcus Cousins led all Sacramento scorers with 24 points. Marcus Thornton scored 21 coming off the bench including five 3-Point goals. Patrick Patterson shot 100.0% (8/8) scoring 18 points in his off the bench role. Isaiah Thomas scored 19 points. The Kings bench scored 65 points on Sunday night against the Warriors.
POST GAME NOTES:
The Kings fall to 4-11 overall and 3-7 at home. It was the fourth consecutive loss for the Kings.
DeMarcus Cousins 24 point game was his ninth 20 point plus game of the season.
The Warriors are now 10-6 overall and 5-6 on the road.
Golden State has won both games with the Kings this season.
The Warriors and Kings will play again on Wednesday 2/19/14 in Sacramento.