BY MASON BISSADA
The Golden State Warriors fell to the Sacramento Kings in wire-to-wire fashion on Tuesday night at the Chase Center, losing by a score of 112-94.
Despite coming within striking distance multiple times, the Warriors never led in the game. Golden State’s lack of 3-point shooting proved to be their Achilles Heel, as they shot an abysmal 4-28 (14.3%) for the game from beyond the arc (1-17 in the first half).
“Just a tough night,” Head Coach Steve Kerr said postgame. “Four-for-28. We started to move the ball better in the second half. We had some great possessions with the drive-and-kick and got some open looks. Just one of those nights where the shots didn’t go down.”
The Kings capitalized, as six of their players scored in double figures while shooting an efficient 52.6% from the field and 43.3% from beyond the arc. De’Aaron Fox (8-15 shooting) and former Warrior Harrison Barnes (9-12 shooting) led the Kings with 21 points each, and the shooting guard one-two-punch of Buddy Hield (19 points) and Bogdan Bogdanovic (17 points) also contributed to Sacramento’s dominance.
Were it not for Marquese Chriss continued excellence, the game would’ve been even more one-sided than it already was. After sitting out the previous game with left calf soreness, Chriss (who is from Sacramento) returned and proceeded to drop a 21-point, 10-rebound double-double in 25 minutes of play.
Chriss advanced skillset continues to impress. His finishing around the rim has already been established, but what has jumped out most as of late is ability to catchthe basketball. It sounds simple and fundamental, but good hands are becoming more and more of a rarity among big men in today’s NBA. Tuesday, Chriss was catching lobs and post-entry passes with an ease and fluidity that put Sacramento’s defense at a disadvantage. He knows the fundamental rule for bigs of not bringing the ball back down once it is caught, and his athleticism allows him to put the ball back up without much of a gather or hesitation.
“I mean he’s got a great touch around the rim,” Ky Bowman said of Chriss. “So just being able to find him and get him to those spots is big for us as guards.”
Prior to the game, Chriss was averaging 14.6 points and 7.7 rebounds in the month of February. He’s building up a large enough sample size to prove this type of play is not just a fluke, and he will only continue to get easier looks as Steph Curry makes his return. His long-term future is still uncertain, but it is becoming harder and harder to see a 2020-21 Warriors roster without Chriss on it.
“I thought Marquese was great again,” Kerr said. He’s strung together a really good couple of months here for us and he’s playing with a lot of energy and confidence.”
Andrew Wiggins had somewhat of a bounce-back game after his forgettable 3-16 shooting on Sunday night against the Pelicans, scoring 16 points on 6-14 shooting. However, he did little else, as he tallied just one assist and no rebounds in 30 minutes of action. Wiggins had a tendency towards these sorts of box scores during his tenure in Minnesota. His playmaking and court vision leave a lot to be desired, and it sometimes appears as though he has tunnel vision towards the basket when deciding what to do with the ball. While he only had two turnovers on the night, it’s a bit discouraging to see such a low assist total, especially when he was playing the de facto point-guard during certain stretches of the game. As for the donut in terms of rebounding, Wiggins will have to make a vast improvement if he wants to be able to play the Harrison-Barnes-stretch-4 role that Steve Kerr has envisioned for his small-ball lineup when the team is fully healthy.
On the positive side, the entire Warriors starting lineup of Wiggins, Chriss, Eric Paschall, (12 points) Jordan Poole (13 points) and Damion Lee (14 points) all scored in double figures. Seeing as the latter three will likely be moved to the bench next season, it is encouraging to see that they can put up decent scoring figures against opposing starters. It’s exciting to envision them as a bench mob that can at least keep the Warriors afloat when Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green rest next year.
Were it not for a slow start, an abundance of turnovers (16) and terrible three-point shooting luck, the Warriors may very well have hung around in this game until the end. However, this could be said about almost every Warriors loss this season.
The loss dropped the Warriors record against the Kings to 0-3 this season. The teams play a final time in Sacramento on April 15th in the final game of the regular season.
Tuesday marked Jordan Poole’s seventh straight double-digit scoring performance. He’s averaging 15.7 points per game over the streak.
Golden State fell to 7-22 (.241) at home this season, dropping its season-high seventh-straight home game. The last time the Warriors lost seven-straight at home was during the 2000-01 season (Feb. 13-March 21, 2001) when they lost nine straight. It was also the Warriors seventh straight overall, and their 46th loss of the season.