BY MASON BISSADA
What was the biggest contributing factor to the Golden State Warriors’ ugly 100-79 loss to the Sacramento Kings? Should the loss be attributed to poor offensive execution? Or was it was their ugly defensive awareness? If you chose C (all of the above), you’ll be going home with a small cash prize.
Without Eric Paschall’s offensive punch (he sat a second consecutive game with a hip injury, though Steve Kerr is confident he’ll play Wednesday), Golden State struggled mightily to score in the half court. The Warriors’ total of 79 points tied their lowest scoring output of the season (the other was their slightly-more embarrassing 104-79 loss to the Hawks). In the offensive explosion that is today’s NBA, 79 points is truly astonishing. Golden State shot 39% from the field and only 24% from 3. They also turned the ball over 21 times for good measure. They simply had no one who could put the ball in the basket and create penetration for others. To make it even more clear just how bad the Warriors’ offense was, consider this: Sacramento turned the ball over a whopping 29 times, and they still won by 21 points.
“I ain’t never seen that sh*t before,” Draymond Green said of the above stat.
Head Coach Steve Kerr concurred. “I’ve never seen a box score like this, it’s almost impossible to do that. It shows you how poorly we played.”
On the other end, the Warriors allowed the Kings to shoot 60% from the field and 45% from beyond the arc. Though Buddy Hield (19 points, four rebounds, four assists) shined among his fellow starters, it was the Kings reserves that truly stood out. Sacramento’s bench scored nearly half their points, led by Bogdan Bogdanovic (25 points on 9-11 shooting) and sophomore standout Marvin Bagley III (17 points on 7-13 shooting). The Warriors were going under on pick-and-rolls involving Bogdanovic (much to the chagrin of Steve Kerr), and he made them pay by hitting four of his five 3-point attempts. Bagley looked comfortable in just his third game back from a thumb injury, though his rim protection still leaves something to be desired.
“One of the most confident dudes you’ll see play,” said Willie Cauley-Stein, who played with Bagley last year in Sacramento and guarded him at points tonight. “He’s going to be aggressive. He’s going to get to his spots. It’s a fun matchup because he’s going to bring it to you every time.”
The loss would have been even uglier were it not for Damion Lee’s energy. Though the guard laid an egg from behind the 3-point arc (0-5), he did score 13 points on 6-10 shooting from within the arc. Lee did a good job of moving off the ball, cutting back-door and leaking out on fast breaks for easy layups. However his lack of long-range shooting did hinder the Warriors’ spacing whenever they weren’t running in transition.
Willie Cauley-Stein led the Warriors in scoring with 14 points on 7-9 shooting. What was more impressive was Cauley-Stein’s awareness in passing lanes, intercepting bad Kings’ passes for a total of six steals (one shy of his career high).
The Warriors’ two remaining All-Stars were both unimpressive and appeared uninterested in the game at hand. D’Angelo Russell scored just eight points on 2-9 shooting, though he did have eight assists and was a +1 for the game. The same could not be said for Draymond Green, who pitched in a measly seven points, three assists and two rebounds in 26 minutes of action.
“We sucked in every way, shape and form,” Green said postgame with palpable sadness and frustration in his voice. “It’s frustrating. How many other ways to put it?” Another way to put it would be that Jacob Evans was a team-low -28 in 20 minutes of action.
Golden State will attempt to stop the bleeding on Wednesday as they travel to Portland to take on the Trail Blazers at 7 p.m.
Steve Kerr received a technical foul late in the third quarter after yelling profusely at the referees for a missed travel call. It’s nice to see Kerr staying so passionate despite his team’s poor play. Or perhaps that was just his way of letting out his pent-up frustration with his own ball club.
On multiple occasions Green was trying to organize players at the top of the key while the shot clock wound down as time expired. There’s a fine line between being a floor general and a ball-stopper.
The Kings Marvin Bagley committed three fouls in eight minutes in the first half, including two that led to three point plays. He still has no patience as a rim protector and seems a step slow on defense despite his elite athleticism.
A large amount of Sacramento fans made the trip for the Kings first game at Chase Center.
Sunday’s loss ended the Warriors five-game win streak against the Kings.