March 17, 2018, 1:14 am
Another close game and another strong finish for the Kings as they edged out a 98-93 victory over the Warriors in Oakland.
A game that looked like it would be an offensive slobberknocker turned into a low-scoring affair after halftime.
The Warriors led Sacramento 59-57 after 24 minutes of play but when both teams began the game 0-for-6, the story changed.
It became a tight game and ultimately big plays down the stretch would seal the win for the Kings.
De’Aaron Fox was quiet all night up until the last few minutes of the game; then he turned it on. Fox scored six points in the last 2:40 to help the Kings clinch their second win at Oracle this season.
The Warriors may not have had their entire death lineup as Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant sat with injuries, but what they did have was still more than formidable.
However, the Kings weren’t flustered when the Warriors repeatedly attempted to pull away. The teams exchanged leads in the fourth quarter as both teams swung like prizefighters in the 12th round trying to unload with whatever energy they had left.
After Buddy Hield hit one of two free throws the Kings had a 94-93 lead. The Kings then forced Draymond Green to shoot a contested three which missed the mark.
Hield made another pair of free throws and in a last-ditch effort, Golden State drew out a play for Nick Young. The long arm of Willie Cauley-Stein, however would block the attempt and a fast break dunk on the other end for Cauley-Stein proved to be the knockout punch.
Hield led the bench with possibly his best game of the season as he finished with 22 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. The scoring was something Hield’s proven to do this season but where he really made his mark was distributing the ball. Hield forced defenders to collapse on him and found the open man on most occasions.
Although Hield was the most productive bench player on the night, Skal Labissiere made his mark as well. Labissiere had missed three games after injuring his hip and showed his offensive abilities throughout the game. Whether it was a straightaway 3-pointer right over the defender or a 15-foot fade away that hit nothing but the net, Labissiere had his way en route to 15 points and five rebounds.
The Kings allowed seven 3-pointers in the first quarter from there on out, they gave up just five more as the Warriors finished with 12 makes from beyond the arc. Sacramento, on the other hand, knocked down an uncanny 14 three’s of their own. The ability to knock down the long ball proved incredibly beneficial in keeping the team close when the defending champs attempted to pull away.
The Kings have a short time to celebrate their 23rd victory, however, as they head to Utah to face the Jazz Saturday night.