Culture of Hoops

Kings Implode in the Third, Lose to the Warriors 122-103

Image courtesy of Bryan Horowitz/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Bryan Horowitz/Flickr.

Heading into Monday’s game, the Golden State Warriors had a 93.7 percent chance of winning at home over the Sacramento Kings according to ESPN’s Power Index. Considering that Sacramento has played atrociously on the road this season (4-11) and even worse on back-to-back games (0-8), this probability in favor of the Warriors came to the surprise of few.

However, what did surprise most spectators was the Kings ability to compete at a high level for such an extended period of time. After the disgraceful contest against the Portland Trailblazers, the Kings were hungry for a win and wanted to upset the champions.

Somehow, the Kings came out too aggressive. In a matter of the first 22 seconds of play, both Rajon Rondo (2) and DeMarcus Cousins (1) had managed to foul Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Andrew Bogut. An immediate concern for the longevity of the game for Sacramento, especially being that the Warriors took a 16-7 lead with seven minutes remaining in the first quarter.

The Warriors continually attacked Cousins and Rondo early and forced both Sacramento stars into immediate foul trouble. Rondo drew his third foul in a matter of five minutes of play and Cousins met him on the bench soon after drawing his third foul with two minutes remaining in the first.

Picking up the slack early for the Kings was small forward Rudy Gay. After a well below-average shooting night against the Blazers, Gay scored 11 of his 17 in the first quarter. Guiding the Kings to a two-point lead heading into the second quarter.

Without the assistance of backup center, Kosta Koufos, the Kings relied heavily on the sheer effort from role-player Quincy Acy. Acy came into the game and perfectly matched up with the small-ball dominate Warriors. Grabbing six rebounds in seven minutes, the Kings found a rhythm on defense behind the play of Acy that hadn’t been seen since the away game against the Indiana Pacers.

Making the appropriate switches and communicating correctly, the Kings held Steph Curry scoreless on 0-6 from behind the three-point line until midway through the third quarter.

And then all hell broke loose.

In the final four minutes of the first half, Omri Casspi and Stephen Curry put on a shooting display that garnered national attention on social media for both players. “I guess I just caught a hot hand,” Omri laughed at the end of the game.

The two combined for 31 points in the final four and half minutes of basketball. Casspi shooting 4/4 from deep for 14 while Curry matched shot for shot, going 5/5 from three and totaling 17 points in just three minutes.

Casspi finished with a career high of 36 points and the Kings headed into the locker room with a 61-58.

Starting the second half everything that could have gone wrong for Sacramento, did.

With eight minutes left in the quarter, Cousins committed his fifth foul. In strong disagreement with the call, Cousins was up in arms and even stormed in anger towards the official that made the call. Drawing two quick technical fouls and the Kings star center was sent to the locker room early.

In just 12 minutes of play, Cousins was 3-9 from the field with seven points, four rebounds, and five fouls.

Immediately after Cousins’ ejection, the Warriors went on a 13-0 run and finished the remainder of the quarter outscoring Sacramento 26-9. The Warriors took a commanding lead heading into the fourth and never looked back.

The Kings lost their second straight game, 122-103 as the Warriors reserves maintained the lead throughout the fourth.

Stephen Curry finished with his first triple-double of the season posting 23 points, 14 rebounds, and 10 assists. Draymond Green and Klay Thompson also had big scoring nights, finishing with 25 and 29 points respectively.

For the Kings, there was no dependable shooting from anywhere on the court as the team was held to just 38 percent from the field. Darren Collison added 13 points and continually proves to be a sparkplug off of the bench.

The Kings face the 76er’s on Wednesday in a must-win game for the moral of the team. For the Warriors, they take on the Dallas Mavericks next and look to build off of their outstanding record.

Kings 103

(12-19, 4-11 away)

Warriors 122

(29-1, 15-0 home)

Coverage: CSNB

10:30 PM ET, December 28, 2015

ORACLE Arena, Oakland, CA

1 2 3 4 T
SAC 29 32 14 28 103
GS 27 31 32 32 122

Top Performers

Sac: O. Casspi 36 Pts, 6 Reb, 1 Ast

GS: S. Curry 23 Pts, 14 Reb, 10 Ast, 2 Stl

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