With familiar faces Harrison Barnes and Luke Walton lacing up across from the Warriors Monday night, the Dubs exploded to a 137-106 win over another Pacific Division rival and improved to 4-3 on the season, shooting 53.5% from three-point land and spreading the love for 41 assists.
The 2019-2020 NBA Season saw the Sacramento Kings finish above the Golden State Warriors in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference for the first time in 14 years. And the Kings did so in convincing fashion, more than doubling the total number of Warriors wins last season.
Hoping to build off of the momentum of last year’s campaign, the Kings were aggressive in the offseason, acquiring Hassan Whiteside, Glenn Robinson III, and Frank Kaminsky, as well as drafting impressive rookie Tyrese Haliburton 5th overall, although they were without Haliburton Monday night due to a wrist injury.
However, the Warriors were still high from Curry’s performance against the Blazers, and it was the momentum from his 62-point night prior that carried over, kindling a Dubs barrage that propelled Golden State to an early 17-point lead to end the first quarter.
The Warriors seemed to be in cruise control the rest of the way, coasting to a decisive victory on the back of a quiet 30 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists from Stephen Curry.
Golden State got a ton of great production from their bench all night, with Eric Paschall registering his fifth double-digit scoring performance in as many games.
Kent Bazemore was big on both sides of the ball early on, and helped to stymie anything the Kings tried to get going as they pushed to get back in the game.
The whole Golden State team shot the ball well from behind the arc, with 10 different Warriors players connecting 23 times on 43 attempts for 53.5%.
Kelly Oubre Jr., who was a 35% 3pt shooter just a season ago, finally returned to form, going 4-6 from three after starting the season just 2-30. At one point in the third quarter, you could see Oubre Jr. blowing kisses amidst some jeers from Kings’ players directly after knocking down a corner three in front of their bench.
Despite the attractive, easy-flowing offense, the Warriors were much more concerned with their defensive intensity postgame, and will look to that as the indicator for their success in the future as they work to improve each contest.
"That's gonna be the key, going forward," head coach Steve Kerr said in his postgame Zoom conference. "These last two games have been really good defensive efforts, and that's what this team has to be built on, in order to compete at the highest level."
"[Defense] has to be the identity of this group," Draymond Green echoed. "When we're defending like that, we can get easy buckets on the other end. As we continue to figure each other out offensively, figure out where shots are coming from, the one thing we can be consistent on is our energy and effort on the defensive end. These last two games were a good step in the right direction for us, now we got to make sure we continue to build on that."
Steph reiterated the team is committed to the slow build this season.
"It's a process," Curry told the media Monday night. "Every game, every week we're gonna get better. We're kinda proving that, but we haven't done anything yet... [we'll] take it one game at a time, stay in the moment. We are getting better, we are more prepared, we're more confident, and you gotta keep proving it."
Golden State opened up the whole can on the Kings Monday night, then turned it over and shook it a few times to make sure there was nothing left. And they looked like they were having a blast doing it.
The Warriors will take on a much tougher opponent in the Clippers this Wednesday night, as they host Los Angeles in the first round of another 'baseball' series at 7 p.m. PST at the Chase Center in San Francisco.
Top Image: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images