April 1, 2018, 12:40 am
The Warriors showed their superiority on Saturday night, taking down the Kings 112-96 in Sacramento.
Both teams were active early on, moving the ball and pestering each other of defense. Klay Thompson showed no signs of rust in his return from an eight-game absence, scoring six quick points out of the gate. However, De’Aaron Fox was the standout of the first quarter, dropping 10 points with four assists. He was playing with a ton of confidence, showing no hesitation as he pulled up for multiple mid-range jumpers. The Kings managed to jump up by as many as seven points in the first quarter, but the Warriors fought back over the final few minutes and grabbed a 28-25 lead.
Turnovers began to take a toll on the Kings in the second quarter and the Warriors took advantage. They held a steady lead throughout the second quarter, pacing the Kings and generally taking better care of the ball. Golden State committed just three turnovers in the first half, compared to Sacramento who turned the ball over 10 times. The Kings couldn’t find their flow on offense because of the turnovers and they lacked the pace displayed in the first quarter. The Kings had no shortage of open looks, too, but they just weren’t falling.
A Buddy Hield 3-ball to conclude the first half closed the gap to 57-49 in favor of the Warriors. Sacramento were shooting just 41.9 percent from the field and 23.1 percent from three, couple that with their turnovers and you can see why they were behind the 8-ball through 24 minutes. The Warriors were playing fairly well but the Kings were doing just enough to hang around. Kevin Durant’s 17 points led the way for Golden State after the first half.
Durant carried that dominance into the second half, hitting multiple jumpers to start the quarter and extending the Warrior lead to as many as 24 points. Golden State had clamped down and were making life difficult on the Kings in the third. Sacramento’s shooting struggles continued to dampen their chances of making a comeback.
The game took a turn for the worst with 41.8 seconds left in the third quarter. Patrick McCaw fell hard on his back after being clipped in the air by Vince Carter. McCaw had to be stretchered off the floor and was visibly in a lot of pain.
Patrick McCaw hurt after taking a hard fall under the hoop pic.twitter.com/0mYUeSpjKQ
— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) April 1, 2018
The players stood around McCaw for several minutes and came together for a prayer before continuing the game. Carter was seen in tears on the sidelines, adding to a pretty somber mood in the arena.
The Warriors held a 93-69 lead through three quarters, but all the energy had essentially been sapped from the game when McCaw went down. Golden State outscored the Kings 36-20 in the third quarter alone. Sacramento’s shooting percentage had dipped below 40 percent but they were taking better care of the ball after a careless first half.
The Kings came out strong in the fourth quarter, however, closing the gap to 101-85. That’s as close as they would get, though, as the Warriors tightened the screws and held on for the victory. With the win, Golden State tied the season series with Sacramento 2-2, a result that the Kings can still be very proud of having won both road games in Oakland.
Durant finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds and five assists on 8-of-16 shooting from the field. His length and skill in general was just too much for the young Kings to handle. Durant met little resistance when trying to get to his spots on the floor, but containing a player of his caliber is tough work for any team to do. Thompson provided some steady offensive support too, amassing 25 points with three 3-pointers.
Hield led the Kings in scoring with 19 points on 6-of-11 shooting and 4-of-5 from three. Buddy continues to be one of the most consistent players out on the floor for the Kings. He’s stringing together some impressive performances and leading the way most nights when it comes to scoring. He played 29 minutes off the bench, too.
Fox contributed 15 points, three rebounds, eight assists, one steal and two blocks in 27 minutes of work. He shot a tidy 6-of-11 from the field and looked good for most of the night. He had a hot first quarter but faded a little for the remainder of the game. The Kings had their best stretch of the night when Fox was in control and playing with pace. An aggressive and confident De’Aaron Fox is best for both himself and the team.
The Kings have a quick turnaround as they travel to Los Angeles for a duel with the Lakers tomorrow night.