What a difference small ball lineups really make in the NBA. For the Golden State Warriors, it has lead to an NBA title as well as an unprecedented 18-0 start to the season. For the Sacramento Kings, on the other hand, it has lead to 120-101 rout by the Warriors as well as a 6-12 record on the season.
The Kings played another game without the big fella’ DeMarcus Cousins and started off the game with Omri Casspi at small forward and Rudy Gay at the power forward position. Better suited to match up with the notoriously smaller Warriors and 6’ 7” power forward Draymond Green.
Tonight, no lineup could stop Green. Tallying his second consecutive triple-double with 13 points, 12 assists, and 11 rebounds. A complete domination on both sides of the ball as he held his counterpart in Rudy Gay to an atrocious 7-20 from the field.
Brandon Rush also got the start tonight in place of Harrison Barnes and finished with 16 points on 4-5 shooting from deep. As for the Splash Bros, they combined for 34 lead the Warriors to a 36 point offensive explosion in the third quarter.
The Warriors shot 49% from the field and even better from deep. Finishing the night at 54% from the three point line, the Warriors were able to hold the Kings to just 39% from the field and 40% from the three-point line.
For the Kings, the top performer of the night was Kosta Koufos who finished with 14 points and 7 rebounds. In Kosta’s extended minutes with the starting lineup, he has found more cohesion with the unit and is starting to produce offensively when needed. Although helpful, 14 points just weren’t enough to make a difference.
While these two teams address an emphasis on pace, the Kings and Warriors travel two completely different paths and it is evident in tonight’s play. The Warriors were defensively committed to contesting any offensive possession by the Kings. Both teams made exactly 39 field goals, the Warriors just happened to finish with six more three-pointers made and 32 of those 39 baskets assisted. The Warriors have paved the path for the rest of the NBA to follow and while the Kings have tried to replicate the formula, the success hasn’t been there.
The Kings didn’t trade four first round picks in order to finish the season with a .333 winning percentage. The schedule hasn’t been easy for the new squad, but they have been able to sign flashes of resilience and continuity. The Kings look to right this skid against the Mavericks this Monday before a three-game road trip.
As for the Warriors, they look to continue history and make it 19-0 against the Jazz tomorrow night. The beginning of a seven-game road trip and quite possibly the longest winning streak of all time.
(6-12, 2-6 away)
(18-0, 10-0 home)
10:30 PM ET, November 28, 2015
ORACLE Arena, Oakland, CA
Sac: K. Koufos 14 Pts, 7 Reb, 2 Stl, 1 Blk
GS: D. Green 13 Pts, 11 Reb, 12 Ast, 1 Stl, 4 Blk