The Most Difficult Component to Accept From Warriors' Loss to Kings Is..

OAKLAND -- The postgame locker room was as quiet as one would expect when the most reliable component of a team is snapped into pieces, as happened to the Warriors on Monday night.

Klay Thompson took a full 25 minutes before peeling off his jersey and trudging into the shower. Andre Iguodala and Omri Casspi, sitting side-by-side in front of their cubicles, spoke in hushed tones while peering into their phones.

Coach Steve Kerr looked weary and exasperated and eager to vacate his seat on the podium of the interview room.

One after another, they offered answers to explain what went wrong and the discontent was both audible and visible.

They blamed their offense and their defense, though the latter simply had to be the most difficult component to accept.

The Warriors, trying to coax championship-level production from a makeshift rotation, knew the offense would have unsightly moments among the beauty. That was a given, the natural by-product of being without Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, two former MVPs who happen to be their leading scorers.

It was the defense, though, that fell apart at uncustomary times and in the most unimaginable ways, opening the door for the lowly Sacramento Kings to hang a 110-106 loss on the defending champions.

"We had 10-point leads and we just closed the (second and third) quarters really poorly," Kerr said. "Those were the key moments in the game in terms of not being able to extend out lead and take control."

Indeed, the Warriors were up 10 (55-45) with 2:45 left in the second quarter and the Kings trimmed to two (55-53) by halftime.

The Warriors were up eight (82-74) with 1:59 left in the third, the quarter in which they typically strangle pretenders such as the Kings. Yet Sacramento closed with a 9-0 run to take an 83-82 lead into the fourth.

Sacramento in the fourth quarter shot better, rebounded better and gave up few points off turnovers. Moreover, the Kings closed the game on 8-0 run during which the Warriors missed all seven of their shots.

"We were up 4 with two minutes left . . . (we) took a couple forced shots and a couple bad fouls," Thompson said solemnly. "But we easily could have won that game.

"Give the Kings credit, though. They played composed throughout the whole game and made big shots."

That was the shocker, the big shots, by Sacramento. The Warriors lead the league in field-goal percentage defense and the Kings are worse at making shots than all but two NBA teams.

The Warriors, who customarily shut off the scoring faucet, were taken apart by the Kings, who have a well-earned reputation for having an offense that barely trickles.

"We didn't execute well down the stretch," Green said, quietly. "On the defensive end, we fouled a 3-point shooter and I gave up a free-throw line box-out, which ended up leading to 2 points. We just didn't make the plays down the stretch we needed to make."

The Kings, the team that can't shoot straight, shot 52.9 percent in the fourth quarter and 60 percent in the second half, outscoring the Warriors by six. They shot 53.2 percent overall, becoming the first team to shoot above 49 percent against the Warriors this season.

Seeing the Warriors miss so many shots down the stretch is at least somewhat conceivable considering they were without Curry and Durant.

Seeing the Warriors fail, repeatedly, to get stops on the other end -- against the Kings -- was the real eye-opener. Curry and Durant were missed at least as much on that end.

"But we'll make the adjustment Wednesday. And we'll be better."

If they're not, the Lakers could find themselves having more fun against the Warriors than even they could have imagined.

Copyright CSNBY - CSN BAY
Contact Us