The streaking Sacramento Kings (20-25) beat the depleted Golden State Warriors (22-23) on Thursday night by the score of 141-119. The Warriors, without stars Draymond Green (illness) and Stephen Curry (tailbone), kept it close early, ending the first quarter up 37-35. The Kings, however, simply kept running while the Warriors slowed to a crawl over the final three quarters.
Kings star De’Aaron Fox set a new career-high with 44 points and added 7 assists and 3 steals. Four of the five Kings starters ended up with double-digit points. Shooting guard Tyrese Haliburton continued to make his case for Rookie of the Year, scoring 14 points in the first quarter before finishing the game with 21. The Kings are 5-1 since Haliburton was elevated to a starting role. Richaun Holmes produced very well under the radar; against the Warriors, he finished with 25 points, 11 rebounds, and two blocks.
Forward Andrew Wiggins led the Warriors in points during the absence of their main scorers. He had 26 points on 10-for-18 shooting and added 10 rebounds and four assists. Wiggins, who scored 40 in a win against Memphis last week, has been keeping the Warriors afloat in Curry’s absence. Altogether, five Warriors finished with double-digit points, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the massive Kings offense on Thursday.
STAR OF THE GAME
I wish I could say I was getting tired of putting De’Aaron Fox’s name here…but I’m not.
Since Haliburton’s elevation to the starting lineup, Fox’s shooting stroke has gotten better. Over the last six games, he has shot over 50% four times and finished 16-for-22 (72.7%) against the Warriors. He has added 14 steals over that same span and continues to dish the ball at about his average pace of around 7 a game.
Fox is becoming a real superstar point guard right before our eyes. It is fantastic to watch his talents unfold in real-time and to watch the Kings benefit from it in terms of victories. The team was relatively quiet at Thursday’s trade deadline, adding much-needed depth. The conventional wisdom was that they might unload bigger contracts like Hield’s and Barnes’ to make room for younger players and rebuild.
But it seems, for now, they are going all-in on De’Aaron Fox…and rightly so. He is truly magic on the court.
Second-year shooting guard Kyle “Who Is This” Guy came off the bench and made a huge impact for the Kings. In 22 minutes on the court, he had 17 points, six rebounds, and four assists.
Moving Cory Joseph at the deadline helped create a void for Guy to show off his talents. He hadn’t scored in three appearances for the Kings since February 25th against the Knicks, when he played four minutes and made a single three-pointer. His 17 on Thursday against the Warriors was a career-high, and it will be interesting to see him with more minutes going forward.
(Honorable Mention: Ty Haliburton raced out to 14 points early, then fizzled. What happens when he doesn’t fizzle? Stay tuned.)
(Honorable Mention #2: Richaun Holmes has very suddenly and very certainly become an elite frontcourt defender.)
The Kings have been so successful lately that it’s hard to pinpoint any big problems. They’re still a little shaky on defense. Giving up 119 to a weak Warriors squad is an area of concern. At the trade deadline, they added some interesting pieces to the bench that might help them snag more opportunities away from opposing teams and keep the scoring down.
They’re not always going to get 44 from De’Aaron Fox, so they need to figure out how to win these games when they’re up against a Steph Curry by getting the ball away from the big scorers. Hield is frequently touted as a big scorer, but his point totals over the last three games (19, 14, and 16) don’t indicate it. He doesn’t provide enough defensive effort to make such paltry point contributions worthwhile. Hield did add six assists, though, but that mostly had to do with Fox’s inability to miss the basket on Thursday night.
The Cavs roll in for a rematch…
vs Cleveland Cavaliers, Saturday, March 27th, 7:00 PM PT
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KINGS CRUSH WARRIORS KINGS CRUSH WARRIORS KINGS CRUSH WARRIORS
Ryan Dawley is a jack-of-all-trades writer, producing work in the fields of journalism, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, technical writing, and academic writing. He has been a fan of the Sacramento Kings since they snuck into the first round of the 1999 playoffs, when they nearly defeated the defending Western Conference champion Utah Jazz. His work for the Peach Basket has been covering all things Kings since February 2021. When he’s not writing, Ryan is usually absorbing the ins and outs of drawing, photography, and design; or he may be found thumping his bass guitar in front of the television. He was born and resides in Reno, NV.