Whatever momentum the Warriors had from beating the Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento came to town and took it.
The Kings improved to 3-1 against Golden State this season with a 105-98 win at Oracle Arena. The Warriors, which had won four of five, put together a performance that betrayed their talk of finishing strong.
They got outplayed and outworked by the worst road team in the NBA. The Kings were 6-30 and hadn’t beaten a winning team away from home all season.
On top of that, the Warriors missed a chance to put some distance between themselves and Houston for the No. 6 seed. The Rockets lost at home to Indiana, which means the Warriors missed a chance to move two games up. As it stands now, they are still tied with Houston the loss.
MARK JACKSON: “We did not play well from top to bottom. … Just glad we don’t have to face them in a seven-game series right now.”
More on Wednesday’s loss …
MVP: Andrew Bogut
He finished with 12 points, 9 rebounds, 4 blocks and 2 assists. He had a hard time with Jason Thompson early. But he recovered and was a force again. Wednesday, he gave the Warriors some much needed offense. His legs looked spry as he attacked the basket on multiple occasions, twice getting dunks and twice dropping in a runner. He played 27 minutes and you knew he was there when he was on the floor.
MDP: Stephen Curry
Could’ve easily been Klay Thompson. But Curry’s bad games hurt more. And he was largely responsible for giving up 31 to Isaiah Thomas. He couldn’t make shots, took a bunch of bad shots and lost focus too much on defense. No doubt, many NBA players wish their bad games come with 12 assists, 5 rebounds and 4 steals. But the reality is, the Warriors aren’t quite good enough to overcome bad games from Curry. They need him to dominate.
JACKSON: “Steph was not good. This was the first time in a long time that he hasn’t been good. He was bad. It’s going to happen. I don’t care if he played 30 minutes, then he had 30 minutes of bad basketball tonight. It happens. We’re not going to overreact.”
TELLING STAT: Golden State posted a whopping 68 points in the paint on 34 of 54 shooting (63 percent). You know what that means? They were 7 of 36 outside the paint (19.4 percent). They missed 19 of the 24 3-pointers they took.
With the success they had going inside, the natural question is why did they take so many shots outside?
The Warriors had 30 assists, which is a lot. They were 5-0 when reaching the 30-assist-plateau. When they moved the ball, they scored. When they stopped sharing the ball and taking quick shots, they struggled. More on this later.
YEAH, WHAT HE SAID: “There’s no excuse for it one-through-12. The coaches do a great job of preparing us, the fans are great, but we need to regroup the next two days. We have a tough road team coming in also competing for a playoff spot, we have to move on with it. We need to remember this one, there’s no excuse for it, especially at this point of the season. We’re playing for more than their team, so kudos to them.” — Warriors center Andrew Bogut
COACHES CORNER: Mark Jackson is a coach of the year candidate, no doubt. But his and his team’s flaws are going to get exposed on the big stage of the playoffs. Bottom line is, even with Bogut, the Warriors are a jumper happy team.
But unlike layups, jumpers have a lot of variables. Including fatigue, pressure, momentum. All that will come into play in the postseason. And I am not sure what the Warriors will do if their jumpers stop falling.
After the game, Jackson said he didn’t have a problem with Klay Thompson’s shots. He’s in the minority. He took back to back 3-pointers, both early in the shot clock, while in the midst of a horrible shooting night. True, Klay can and has hit those, and they have changed the tides of games. But what’s lost in the love affair with his shooting is his slow development in understanding how to get himself going. Even Curry sometimes forces himself to get inside or go to a spot when he’s struggling.
But here is the odd part, the Warriors relied on jumpers even though their inside game was working.
The Warriors usual inside guys — David Lee, Harrison Barnes, Carl Landry, Andrew Bogut — were a combined for 27 of 41 (65.8 percent). Those four players took one fewer shot than the Warriors guards — Curry, Thompson and Jarrett Jack — who went 12 of 46.
Not only do you not take transition jumpers when you’re ice cold. But you don’t take them when you have high-percentage offense clicking. Jackson has yet to figure out a way to make that a reliable part of the Warriors attack.
Jackson again shortened his rotation, which is a good thing. He is riding Curry hard, which is surprising with his recent ankle issue. But Curry and Lee and the like need to play more, and get used to playing well on heavy minutes.
But the days of the mass substitutions need to be over.
SERIOUSLY?!: Curry was in the right corner looking for an outlet. He saw Bogut on the weakside and threw him a lob near the rim. Now, I’m not sure if Curry meant it to be an alley-oop, but Bogut sure took it that way. He tried to catch it in the air and throw it down as if Timofey Mosgov was underneath him. Um, not the best idea. Bogut’s dunk lost a battle with the rim.
BEFORE YOU GO: That win by the Kings was the first this season against a winning team on the road. Sacramento is 7-30 on the road, worst in the Western Conference. … Also, Curry hit his 600th 3-pointer early in the third quarter. The only other Warriors to hit as many 3-pointers was Tim Hardaway (602) and Jason Richardson (700).