The Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors are in two different legions of basketball. Sacramento is in an elongated transition/rebuilding period with no end in sight, under endlessly unstable ownership and management with way too much control over minute details. The Warriors are the best team in the NBA, with a roster capable of winning a championship immediately.
Golden State has been in midseason form all year, and their superiority as a team and franchise showed in a 25-point victory over Sacramento.
Ty Corbin’s fast-paced offense was effective for the first seven minutes of the game, but was completely stagnant for the remainder. Ben McLemore started off hot in this stretch, scoring 13 quick points and collecting three steals from Klay Thompson. McLemore went on to hit three three-pointers in the first quarter, as the Kings made a note of getting him involved.
After that, it was the Warriors’ game. The usual suspect, Stephen Curry, jump-started and enormous run that would span into the second half. He found cutting teammates for wide-open layups, as Sacramento’s defense was nonexistent, with the exception of Darren Collison and Ben McLemore, whose defensive presence seldom waivers.
Stephen Curry had 23 points on the game and nine assists. He collected five defensive rebounds and started a fast break on each.
This was a wildly efficient first half from the Warriors: They had 22 assisted baskets on 26 field goals, spawning a 25-2 run.
“Going into the fourth quarter, we just couldn’t get over the hump,” said Ty Corbin. “Give them credit, they’re a good team. They know who they are, and they pass the ball very well. They space the floor and they shoot the ball very well.”
DeMarcus Cousins led a fight from the Kings, but couldn’t bring them any closer than 12 points behind the Warriors. Marreese Speights gave him a favorable matchup in the post, and he had a far more efficient second half. Clousins had 26 points on 21 field-goal attempts for the game.
Sacramento’s defense was nonexistent in the second half. The Warriors found wide-open lanes on every trip down the floor, shooting early in the shot clock on good looks.
Offensively, they were better. Rudy Gay aided in the almost-kind-of-a-comeback, scoring 20 points on 15 shots. Still, the Kings only had 17 assisted baskets to the Warriors 33.
No discrepancy between the two teams was bigger than in bench production. The Warriors bench scored 61 combined points to the Kings’ 12.
“Their bench has been good, and they shoot the ball very well,” said Corbin. “I left our starters in a little bit longer to see if we could get something going.”
Golden State also had just 11 turnovers. Nothing was forced, and no bad passes were made. They were in a world of ball movement all their own, and it ate Sacramento alive. It didn’t take a 52-point game from Thompson for the Warriors to win 121-96.
The Kings need to be better against Western Conference powerhouses.
“We have to keep working. It will be big for us to get a win against each and every opponent. We can’t not work and think that we’re going to get better. We have to come in every day and work and give ourselves a chance to win against the opponent we’re playing,” said Corbin.