Warriors Slap Themselves Awake Before Sleep Time at All-Star Break

The Golden State Warriors had a hard time getting involved with the task at hand Wednesday night – namely, packing for the weekend.
Their basketball work, on the other hand – well, they came as close as a team can come to doing it in their sleep. And if there is a lesson in that, it can be found upside the Sacramento Kings' collecting skulls. 
In boxing the Kings, 106-83, almost entirely on the strength of an overwhelming third quarter, the Warriors eased into the All-Star break four games clear of the San Antonio Spurs and playing largely against their own standard until the playoffs begin a million years from now.
Wednesday's odd twist, which didn't really move the needle all that much, was that Draymond Green got hurled into the ether in the final minute of the first half for two staccato waves of disgust and a pungent and disputatious colloquialism at official Ron Garretson. The technical fouls are his ninth and 10th of the season, closing the gap between him and league leader DeMarcus Cousins to seven, and that of suspension by the NBA's Bureau Of Politeness to six.
But in his absence, the Warriors put up their 16th 40-point quarter of the season, blitzing the Kings, 42-15, largely behind Klay Thompson's shooting (17 points on five-of-six) and Patrick McCaw's ridiculous defensive work (he was plus-28 in 10 minutes).
And it wasn't so much that they were beating the Kings as a show of solidarity for their wronged colleague (Green was called for a wonky foul but earned the two technicals) but as a realization that they were going to have to work much harder and more efficiently to slap themselves from their first-half torpor.
And slap they did, as they usually do. Thompson was the obvious catalyst, McCaw the omnipresent annoyance, and Kevin Durant (21/7/7) was properly Durant-y, but they also excised DeMarcus Cousins (a paltry 13/4/6 in 22 minutes) from the Kings' game, in all putting down a 28-2 run in less than seven minutes to more than negate the fact that the Kings were three points better in the other 41.
But that's Golden State in a pretty mahiogany box. The Warriors do that a lot, which is why they have won 34 of its 47 victories by double digits, and 17 by 20 or more. They have elevated the bar of stimulus for their home crowds to the point where they sounded almost Staples Center-disinterested through the first half. It took a Thompson 3 and then a Curry 3 a minute later to get them involved at all, but as the Kings kept going down the floor to achieve nothing over 16 possessions, the crowd got their time-released jollies and went home satisfied if not tingly. 
The game spoke very little new of the Warriors, but it showed the Kings what the reward for finishing eighth will be. True, the Kings will take anything given that they have missed the playoffs with a stirring consistency this past decade, and since the Warriors are almost certainly going to win the conference and Oklahoma City is almost certainly uncatchable, the Warriors would be their only fate.
And it would be a fate that would probably look a lot more like Wednesday's than the Kings' overtime win two Saturdays ago. Such is the gulf between the two, Draymond Green or no Draymond Green.
Not that that's news or anything, but it's all there is before this eight-day break. The Kings are in a death-war with Denver and Dallas and Portland and New Orleans and Minnesota, and the Warriors . . . are just the Warriors. Even if, as they were Wednesday night, just the Warriors for 12 minutes.

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