What we learned as Klay’s game-winner lifts Warriors past Kings originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
SAN FRANCISCO – Steve Kerr during his pregame media press conference called Wednesday night “the ultimate trap game” with the Sacramento Kings playing without injured star point guard De’Aaron Fox, and he couldn’t have been more correct.
Klay Thompson’s final-second jump shot gave the Warriors a wild 102-101 win over the Kings in front of a sellout Chase Center crowd.
The Warriors (4-1) for much of their fourth straight win looked like a team coming home from a three-game road trip with very little rest. They were outworked on the boards, played foul-happy defense early and Steph Curry never caught fire like has the past few games.
Instead, this was a game where the grittier team pulled out a win by any means necessary.
Curry still led the Warriors with 21 points. Thompson added 14, and his final two were the only that mattered in the end.
Here are three takeaways from the Warriors’ first home win of the season.
Magic Runs Out
Through the first four games of the season, the Third-Quarter Warriors were back and humming on all fronts. Not this time.
The Warriors came into the night as a plus-47 in the third quarter, outscoring teams 142-95. Their lowest scoring third quarter thus far was 24 points against the Houston Rockets. A new low came against the Kings.
Sacramento started the second half on a 7-0 run and wound up with a 24-18 advantage overall for the frame, putting the Warriors in a five-point hole going into the final quarter.
For the quarter, the Warriors shot 30 percent (6 of 20) overall. However, Dario Šarić made two timely 3-pointers. His first brought the Warriors within one point, 72-71, with three-and-a-half minutes to go in the third. And his second two minutes later tied it all up at 74 points apiece.
Both triples were assisted by Chris Paul.
In a game where secondary players needed to step up, Šarić was ready to answer Kerr’s call and helped the Warriors be within striking distance of Sacramento before the last 12 minutes of the game.
Šarić in his previous three games had scored a total of 15 points on 27.7 percent shooting (5 of 18) and 27.3 percent (3 of 11) from deep. Finally, the stretch big man found his stroke.
There were downfalls, like Saric’s three turnovers, mishandling some passes in traffic and not exactly being a defensive stopper. But the positives outweighed the negatives.
Saric in 20 minutes off the bench scored a season-high 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting and was 3 of 5 beyond the arc. Plus, Saric’s six rebounds led all bench players.
Even in a game that needs cleaning up, this is the luxury Saric adds. The Warriors always have been a better team when they have a stretch big who can let it fly. When Saric drained his shots against the Kings, they always were timely buckets.
The first time the Warriors played the Kings in the second game of the season, Wiggins only put up 11 points. He already had 12 by halftime Wednesday night. Five minutes in the third quarter, Wiggins had a new season-high 14 points.
Here’s the problem: Wiggins didn’t score again.
He gave Golden State six points in the first quarter, six in the second, two in the third and none in the fourth quarter. Wiggins also only played three minutes in the fourth. The Warriors closed with Paul, Curry, Thompson, Draymond Green and Kevon Looney, as well as Gary Payton II for Looney.
Wiggins also only had two rebounds, and now has produced two or fewer rebounds twice in three of the Warriors’ first five games. There is so, so much season left, but Wiggins’ slow start has been far from ideal for the Warriors.