A lot of credit should go to the Warriors, particularly the Warriors bench, for winning them this game. Their energy and hustle drove their team to victory. Nate Robinson (11 points, 5 assists) got it started, while Brandon Rush (20 points, 4-5 from three) and Ekpe Udoh (6 points, 5 boards, 4 blocks) were huge contributors with their offense and defense respectively.
But it was the Kings that lost this game through their sloppy play all game. The Kings racked up a season-high 21 turnovers, and the Warriors capitalized on those mistakes. The worst part about those turnovers is that a lot of them were unforced errors, mental mistakes or just bad decisions. DeMarcus Cousins (4) and Tyreke Evans (5) were responsible for the majority of them.
Then there are the mistakes and bad decisions that don't show up in the box score as turnovers. The ill-advised shots, the passing up of an open shot in order to take a more difficult one after some dribbling. Those are the type of mistakes that kill the Kings. It's what leads to stretches like in the 4th quarter when the Kings didn't score until the 6:43 mark, and by that time, all the momentum was going the Warriors way and despite the sincerest efforts of Isaiah "Cold Blooded" Thomas, the Kings couldn't come back.
Tyreke had a near triple-double with a game-high 22 points (14 of which came in the 2nd quarter alone), 10 rebounds, 9 assists, and 3 steals. DeMarcus Cousins also posted a good stat line with another double-double of 21 points (12 of which came in the 1st quarter) and 14 rebounds. Neither player had nearly as big of an impact in the second half as they did in the first.
The Kings did some really good things in this game. For one, the defense on Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry was superb. Ellis was held to 12 points on 5-17 shooting, and Curry had just 3 points on 7 shots. Credit for that goes to the defensive effort of Tyreke Evans, John Salmons and Isaiah Thomas. If you had asked me before the game that those two would combine for just 14 points on 24 shots, I would have thought the Kings would have won this game easily.
The gameplan didn't seem to translate very well to the Warriors bench however. Nate Robinson came in and started hitting some shots in the 3rd quarter, which started the ball rolling for the Warriors to begin to take over this game. Then Brandon Rush went on a rampage in the 4th quarter, with 15 of his points in the period and most of the Warriors starters on the bench for the duration. Ekpe Udoh and Dominic McGuire also combined to do a terrific job of guarding the paint for Golden State. Earlier in the game, Jason Thompson (13 points and 11 rebounds) and DeMarcus Cousins had both been destroying David Lee and Andris Biedrins on post-ups (Cousins had a dream shake sequence that got me off my couch). Udoh and McGuire put a stop to that. The Kings couldn't get anything going inside late, and when they did manage to get the ball in, there was Udoh altering or blocking the shot.
The Warriors bench took a 68-67 deficit going into the fourth and got it to 83-72 halfway through the quarter. A few minutes later and the lead grew to 88-76 with 3:28 left. This is where Isaiah Thomas comes in. Isaiah went on to score all 11 of his points in the final 2:45 seconds, including 3 three pointers, the prettiest of which was a high arcing fadeaway that just missed being blocked with 2.8 seconds left to cut the lead to one.
Unfortunately for the Kings, they were out of timeouts, and as such had to run up the entire length of the court with just 2.2 seconds left after Brandon Rush made both of his Free Throws. The team got the ball into the right person's hand, but Tyreke's halfcourt heave was off-target.
All in all, this was a game the Kings should have won. The Warriors star players were stopped pretty effectively, and the Kings dominated the glass (53 to 38). The Kings also had 19 attempts at the line to just 13 for Golden State. Sacramento also shot 42.7% to the Warriors 40.7%. But sloppy play and better effort by the Warriors down the stretch translated into a Warriors victory.
The Kings have now lost 5 games in a row, but are entering a softer part of the schedule that they should hopefully take advantage of. Portland comes into town on Thursday and that game could possibly see the return of Marcus Thornton to the lineup.