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Game 3 Rewind: Warriors Easily Handle Sacramento Kings

After taking seven shots in the first loss of the season, guard Klay Thompson took a game-high 17 shots. He made 10 of them en route to 27 points as the Warriors beat the Kings 98-87.

Through the first three games, Thompson has been the Warriors’ most important player. It’s a small sample size, and two of the teams were pretty bad, but when he’s on Golden State is just much more dynamic.

“I’m just taking my time and being more patient,” Thompson said I thought I had the skills last year, but this year I’m not just going at one speed and not rushing.”

The Warriors finished the rivalry swing 2-1 and now head out on a four-game road trip that will really test the hype. But before that, you need to relive Saturday’s game through this rewind. …

 

Most Valuable Player (MVP)…

Andrew Bogut. Apologies to Klay Thompson, but Bogut put in one of the most dominant 6-point, 6-rebound performances you will see. Bogut only needed to play 20 minutes because, the way he worked over DeMarcus Cousins, the Sacramento big man lasted only 18 minutes. The Warriors’ veteran center had four blocks, a steal and an assist. But his biggest contribution was taking the will from Cousins. Bogut scored all three of his baskets on Cousins, blocked one of his shots emphatically, and didn’t let the Kings’ bruising young talent push his way around.

 

Most Disappointing Player (MDP) …

Stephen Curry. He had a great shooting night and passed the 5,000-point plateau for his career. But the star point guard committed seven more turnovers. That’s 18 in two games. Even if it didn’t hurt the outcome of this game, as this time, he made up for it with his shot, he needs to shake the TO bug before it becomes a thing. Better yet, stop it from being a thing.

 

KEY MOMENT I…

The Warriors led by 10 midway through the second quarter, then shifted a gear and ran away from the Kings. David Lee started it with a three-point play. Then a turn-around 10-footer by Thompson forced a Kings timeout.

Out of the timeout, Thornton hoisted a 25-footer with 15 seconds on the shot clock. That turned into a Curry 3-pointer at the other end.

The Warriors capped the 13-2 run with a Lee layup, a steal by Green, and a pull-up 3-pointer from Curry. Golden State led 49-28 with two minutes left in the half.

 

TELLING STAT…

Golden State held the Sacramento to 34.5 percent shooting, the lowest percentage by any team in this young season. It’s also the lowest percentage the Kings have shot against the Warriors in the Sacramento era of the franchise. Sacramento couldn’t get it going inside (19 of 42 in the paint, 45.2 percent) or outside (6 of 26 from 3-point range, 23.1 percent).

“I thought it was outstanding,” Mark Jackson said of his team’s defense. “We had some breakdowns, which unfortunately, you expect when you develop a cushion or a lead. Overall, I thought we did an outstanding job of being aggressive and taking their home-run hitters out of the equation.”

 

AT LEAST WE LEARNED …

Draymond Green really did work on his shooting. He hit another 3-pointer on Saturday, making him 3 of 4 for the season. He’s shooting 54.5 percent from the field so far. His scoring is bonus. He’s on the court for the other things he does: defend, rebound (he’s averaging 6 in 21 minutes, btw), bring toughness. But his scoring is even more of a bonus if it comes efficiently. Last season, he shot 32.7 percent from the field and a made a fifth of his 3-point attempts.

 

COACH’S CORNER …

* Mark Jackson, for the last two years, allows Stephen Curry to call the first play. And Curry usually uses that opportunity to feed his big men. Saturday, the first two plays went to Bogut and it proved to be the perfect call. Bogut scored twice over Cousins, setting the tone for the night. He took three of the Warriors’ first seven shots. It was excellent strategy to force Cousins to play defense early. He got tired halfway through the first quarter and, with his offense not clicking, checked out mentally.

“You get your big man touches and let him know we appreciate all the screens and anchoring our defense and making plays,” Curry said. “For him to get those touches early, get a rhythm and make their big defend makes the job easier on everyone too.”

*** If you were expecting another Curry-Isaiah Thomas feud, you were disappointed. Thomas was rendered a non-factor as the Warriors defense sought to take him out of the game. That’s what separates the good players from the stars, how well you do when the defense is focused on stopping you.  Thomas is a good young player, but he couldn’t get anything going. The Warriors chased him over screens and crowded him well. When Toney Douglas was on him, it negated Thomas’ speed advantage as Douglas can stay with him stride for stride. On the other end, every time Thomas wound up on Klay Thompson, he got posted up. With no home crowd to feed off of, the player who could light you up in an instant couldn’t get into a groove.

*** Jackson is handling Curry’s turnover spasm perfectly. His hate the sin, love the sinner approach is perfect for Curry. Jackson consistently calls Curry’s turnovers unacceptable, but in the next breath says he’s sticking with Curry. For a guy who’s been benched for turnovers in the past, Curry said that matters. I guess that’s the difference between playing to win the current game (which is what Keith Smart did) and preparing for a playoff push. That trust between the coach and his point guard/star player is paramount, especially in the postseason when confidence is everything.

 

WHAT HE SAID …

“I don’t think it had anything to do with missing shots. I thought our energy, the fact that we were not read to play, is what set the tone the whole night. They came out the first two possessions and posted up Andrew Bogut, he got layups at the rim. No resistance, no fight, no pride, obviously we didn’t shoot the ball well tonight and that contributes to it but we didn’t shoot the ball well against Denver but we defended and got a win. Tonight we didn’t shoot the ball well; we didn’t defend, especially from the three-point line. We don’t have the greatest talent in the NBA, I’ve said that many times before so we have to be a work team. If we think we can show up to a very good basketball team in their house and just go through the motions, what’s going to happen is what happened tonight; we’re going to get our ass kicked. I give the guys a lot of credit who were in the game the third and fourth quarter, at least they competed. I told them at halftime, I’m not a great coach. If I have to coach effort we’re in a lot of trouble and I thought I was coaching effort the whole night until that third and fourth quarter.”Michael Malone on the Kings’ effort

 

TRENDING TOPIC …

The Warriors were outrebonded for the second consecutive game. Even more alarming, they gave up 16 offensive rebounds. That’s 32 in the last two games. Last time, DeAndre Jordan single-handedly dominated the Warriors on the boards, racking up 10 offensive boards. Against Sacramento, it was more spread out and surely had something to do with the Kings bricking 20 3-pointers.

Still, worth watching to see if this is a problem.

 

KEY MOMENT II…

The Kings had cut the lead to 12, capitalizing off a spree of turnovers by Curry. But Golden State went on a 15-0 run to put the game away.

Thompson started it with back-to-back 3-pointers. But the real highlight came from Bogut.

At the 8:21 mark of the third, he put the Warriors up 20 by slipping away from Cousins and dunking home a lob from Iguodala. On the ensuing defensive possession, he stuffed Cousins’ layup attempt, sending Oracle into an uproar and leading to a Lee layup at the other end. Cousins missed back-to-back jumpers before Curry capped the run with a 3-pointer and Malone yanked all five players from the game.

“One thing I realize in this league, as a player, sometimes you don’t have to call timeout and say anything,” Jackson said. “They understood what was happening. They understood that we were careless with the basketball, understood that they started to close the gap and they also understood that after the timeout they had to execute and that’s exactly what they did.”

 

BEFORE YOU GO …

The Warriors dominated two bad teams at home. It’s the first time since 1990-91 that they’ve opened the home slate with consecutive double-digit victories. In their two home games, the Warriors have trailed for just 23 seconds, winning by an average of 21.0 points and holding the Lakers and Kings to 90.5 points on 36.9 percent shooting.

Marcus Thompson