SAN JOSE -- After the Golden State Warriors drubbed the Los Angeles Clippers by 45 on Tuesday night, the newly formed Sacramento Kings must have looked like easy money. But this isn’t the 2015-16 Kings.
Dave Joerger has his team ready to play, and while it’s only a preseason, his squad is already showing a defensive personality that was completely lacking last season. The tenacious Kings challenged every shot the Warriors hoisted up, but struggled to score down the stretch as they went to their young players. The high-scoring reigning Western Conference champion Warriors pulled away in the fourth for the 105-96 victory, but it was an extremely entertaining 48 minutes of basketball.
DeMarcus Cousins owned the Warriors frontline, scoring a team-high 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting in just 20 minutes of action. The All-Star center added six rebounds, buried a pair of 3-pointers and handed out two assists in the loss.
Matt Barnes set the crowd on fire with a playoff caliber foul of JaVale McGee in the third. The veteran wing was brought in for his toughness and he brought it on Thursday night at the SAP Center. He finished the night with 12 points, eight rebounds and four assists in an entertaining 21 minutes of play.
Darren Collison sat out the contest as a healthy scratch and turned the point guard duties over to Ty Lawson and Garrett Temple. Lawson dropped in seven points and three assists in 21 minutes, while Temple played an impressive 20 minutes, finishing with 13 points, five rebounds and five assists.
Kevin Durant led all scorers with 25 points, hitting 4-of-6 from long range. Stephen Curry added 13 points and five assists and Klay Thompson chipped in 11 in limited minutes.
STANDOUT PERFORMER -- Cousins was an unstoppable force. He ended up in foul trouble, but he is primed to have another big season as the Kings’ main offensive cog
TURNING POINT -- Barnes’ hardnose play in the third changed the momentum of the game. He’s not the most popular player in the league, but his teammates love him and he will grow on Kings fans. Sacramento struggled in the fourth with their young players on the court, but this was an 85-85 tie after three quarters.
INJURY UPDATE -- Omri Casspi missed the game with what is being called a very minor hip strain. Darren Collison was a healthy scratch.
WHAT'S NEXT -- The Kings return home to open the new Golden 1 Center on Monday night against Maccabi Haifa.