After a lackluster first-half performance, the Golden State Warriors rattled off 22 unanswered points in the third quarter to claim a 109-86 win over the Sacramento Kings. The Warriors broke out of a cold shooting opening half by ripping the nets for 42 points in the third frame. Klay Thompson led the way with 35 points (17 in the quarter) while Kevin Durant chipped in 21 and Stephen Curry had 13.
With the win, Golden State moves to 47-9 on the season, four games up on the second-place Spurs.
Here are 10 thoughts on the game:
1. For a couple of minutes there — after the Warriors had uncharacteristically clanked a barrage of open shots in the first half and with Draymond Green ejected from the contest — I legitimately thought it might happen: the Dubs were going to lose two regular-season games in a row. It was inevitable. The slew of recent games, the doldrums of a long season, guys looking forward to the break a little early: it would be understandable for another lackadaisical loss against an inferior opponent. But then the third quarter started and the Warriors went absolutely bonkers on offense dropping 42 points (they had 47 in the entire first half). And it helped the Warriors’ cause that the Kings decided to forget how to play basketball (shoddy defense, questionable shot selection, multiple turnovers in succession) and bungled their way to a 15-point frame. In less than six minutes, the Dubs went from a 56-57 deficit to a commanding 81-59 advantage. Is that even reality?
2. Third quarter: Klay 17, Kings 15.
3. Steph came into the game with nine blocks on the season. He had two swats in this contest. One on a 7-footer.
4. Guess Draymond wanted to start his break early. The two technicals give him 10 for the season, six more and he gets an automatic one-game suspension (the tech for hanging on the rim doesn’t count towards a suspension).
5. I enjoy the Kings announcing crew of Grant Napear and Jerry Reynolds, but I can’t imagine Sacramento fans like that they bring up Klay’s 37-point quarter every time he starts to heat up.
6. Willie Cauley-Stein has the building blocks of a useful NBA player. He’s slithery and agile and good at cleaning up misses by teammates. Dude’s got the height of a center but bounces around the court like a two-guard. He even showed off a nice pocket-pass skill set in the game. It’s really too bad the ninth place Kings can’t find a way to give their second-year lottery pick more than 12 minutes a game to develop.
7. Kings gonna Kangz: At the 11:36 mark of the fourth, Klay — you know, the guy that just dropped 17 in the third and already had 29 in the game — was somehow left completely uncovered by Sacramento’s D in transition. As you’d guess, Klay dropped a 3-pointer. Not three minutes later the Kings’ defense would lose him again on a run-of-the-mill screen. The result? Another deep splash.
8. Shaun Livingston (0 points, 1 assist, 1 board, 1 new baby) showed some veteran savvy in the fourth. With less than six minutes remaining in a 30-point blowout, Shaun committed an intentional foul to get himself a seat on the bench. (Congrats on the new baby, Mr. Livingston!)
9. The kiddie corps did exactly what Steve Kerr needed them to do in mop-up duty. The young fellas held most of the lead in the final 5:30 so Kerr was able to rest all the rotation regulars. Kevon Looney had a nice steal and coast-to-coast basket in the final minutes.
10. The Dubs get to the break with a 4-game lead on the rest of the NBA. Steph, KD and Klay have found a working equilibrium with the scoring load, and the offense is tops in the league. Draymond is as relentless as ever on defense and has a formidable partner in Durant to help him clean up messes down low. The center situation is solid and the second unit is coalescing with a nice mix of veterans and bouncy young guys. Not too bad for a team that was supposed to take a few lumps while working in a new guy.