The Sacramento Kings had a couple of things going against them on Wednesday night when they played the Golden State Warriors. First off, the Warriors were coming off a blowout loss on Monday to the Denver Nuggets. Second, the last time these teams played — less than two weeks ago — the Kings knocked off the Warriors in overtime.
To top it all off, Warriors coach Steve Kerr made it clear during the team’s shoot-around that he wanted this game — the final one before the All-Star break.
So it made total sense that the Warriors handled the Kings 109-86 at Oracle, and headed into the all-star break with an NBA-best 47-9 record. Only it wasn’t as easy as you might think. The Warriors were sluggish to start the game, and it lingered into the second quarter.
It didn’t help that Draymond Green was ejected late in the second quarter after picking up two technical fouls.
DeMarcus Cousins drove into traffic from the perimeter and then lost the ball at the end of his move. Both Cousins and Green went for it and seemed to reach that ball at the same time. Nevertheless Cousins was able to control the ball somehow and actually got up a shot. It wasn’t much of a shot, more of a flail. But it somehow found the bottom of the net, and Green was called for a foul on the play.
Green emphatically waved at official Ron Garretson, who didn’t see Green’s demonstration. But Green did it one more time, and this one Garretson saw and issued him technical No. 1. Green lingered near the Warriors’ bench while the technical free throw and free throw were taken, but he just couldn’t contain himself.
He stayed jawing at Garretson from a distance, before Garretson hit him again, finishing Green’s night early. Green thought he got the ball clean on the play, but he was likely also frustrated because the Warriors were playing in fits and starts — and were down 50-47 at halftime.
Then came the deluge.
The third quarter was all Warriors, and it was pretty impressive. The Warriors outscored the Kings 42-15 in the period, the most points the Warriors had outscored any opponent by in a quarter this year. The Warriors went on a 28-2 run at one point, forcing Sacramento coach David Joerger to take three timeouts at different times.
Klay Thompson led the Warriors with 35 points on 12-for-18 from the field, including 7-for-12 from 3-point range. Kevin Durant finished with 29 points on 10-for-15 from the field. Sacramento center DeMarcus Cousins tied a season-low with 13 points.
The Kings should have known they would have trouble late Monday night, after the Nuggets thumped the Warriors 132-110. Why? Plain and simple, the Warriors don’t lose two in a row — not recently anyway.
Golden State has gone 142 consecutive regular-season games without suffering back-to-back losses. That streak is coming up on two years now. If that wasn’t enough motivation for the Warriors, during the team’s morning shoot-around, Kerr gathered the team and asked them when the All-Star break started.
The team was somewhat puzzled but a few answered: “Tomorrow.”
“That’s right,” Kerr responded. “It starts tomorrow, not tonight.”
The Warriors followed their coach’s instruction.