by Matt George
If the basketball gods truly exist, they owe the world a Sacramento Kings vs Golden State Warriors playoff series. Three games between these two teams this season have been decided by 10 total points. Unfortunately for Sacramento, the Warriors have come out on top in all three, after defeating the Kings 127-123 Saturday night.
Maybe one of the greatest NBA games in history, the Kings and Warriors combined for 41 total three-pointers, an NBA record. They also did something never done before, with both teams scoring 20 or more threes. The Kings shot a better percentage from deep (55.6%) than they did overall from the field (47.4%). However, they couldn’t overcome 42 points from Steph Curry.
— NBA.com/Stats (@nbastats) January 6, 2019
“That was a heck of a basketball game,” said Kings head coach Dave Joerger, “Fun to watch, fun to play. Very proud of our team. We are playing hard – are playing very good teams. In these three losses I felt like we played better than when we beat the Lakers…”.
Buddy Hield was phenomenal for Sacramento, leading the team with 32 points and a career-high eight threes. But the Kings’ performance of the night belongs to Justin Jackson, who poured in 28 points off the bench.
Willie Cauley-Stein praised Jackson for his not-so-surprising performance, “Everybody on our team knows what Justin does. It’s y’all that don’t know what he does. That right there is Justin Jackson every night”.
“It sucks to lose any type of game but especially a game (where) we competed from the start” said Jackson, “We all competed really hard and left it all out there and that’s what really matters”.
Similar to their first half in Thursday’s loss to the Denver Nuggets, the Kings’ ball movement was phenomenal. However, as the Warriors defense picked up in the fourth quarter, Sacramento fell into too much isolation play, resulting in bad shots which allowed Golden State to secure the win.
“Couldn’t find a way to beat those Warriors,” said Hield, “They are tough, man. That’s why they the champs. It’s going to come – maybe not this year, but next year it’ll come”.
Sacramento had just two turnovers heading into the fourth quarter but finished with eight total on the night. Hield’s hot hand was completely removed from the equation by the Warrior defense, with Buddy only getting up one shot in the entire fourth quarter.
“Part of the learning process. We are at a place where we struggle in the half-court,” said Joerger.
Luckily for the Kings, their schedule opens up significantly, beginning with the Orlando Magic in town on Monday. Seven of Sacramento’s next eight games are against teams that are under .500 on the season. However, the Kings are now also under .500, 19-20 overall and 0-3 in 2019. The Warrior loss makes four straight, Sacramento’s longest losing streak of the season.