SAN FRANCISCO — Faced with a tough situation, the Warriors came out breathing fire and kept the flames coming Thursday night at Chase Center.
Their 114-97 victory over the Kings in Game Three gave Golden State some much-needed breathing space in the first round of the Western Conference series. Sacramento took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Five Warriors scored in double digits, with Stephen Curry scoring 36 points, Andrew Wiggins scoring 20, Jordan Paul 16 and Klay Thompson and Moses Moody scoring 13.
Without their best defenders – Draymond Green was suspended, and Gary Payton II was declared too ill to play – the Warriors held Sacramento to the lowest point in the season when their starting players were in the lineup.
Here are three notes from Game 3:
Steve, weaves and color
With Draymond and GP2 out, the Warriors knew they had the void needed to fill. Three players come together to do the task.
Curry led the offensive charge, earning 36 points on 12-of-25 shooting, including 5-of-12 from long range. Whether he was on or off the ball, he struck a wonderful balance between shooting from deep and driving to the edge.
Wiggins’ 20 points came on 8-of-16 shooting, including 3-of-6 outside the arc. He added seven rebounds and was a steady presence on defense.
Looney battled for 31 minutes, finishing with four points and 201 rebounds, while also making the evening difficult for Kings senior Domantas Sabonis.
Others contributed greatly, notably Donte DiVincenzo (six points, eight rebounds, eight assists) and Moody, but this win was fueled by the exploits of Cary Wiggins and Looney.
The appropriate urgency was evident early on
For the first time in the series, the Warriors seemed to sense the gravity of the moment from the start. After committing turnovers on their first possessions in Games 1 and 2, they forced one on Sacramento’s first possession.
They would dive to the ground in search of loose balls. Treat basketball as something valuable. Moreover, he played the defense like a pack of decorative wolves.
Although the Warriors, aside from Curry Wiggins and Moody, didn’t shoot very well, they shut down the best offense in the NBA.
The same Kings who put up half of 71 points in Game 1 and a quarter of 41 points in Game 2 managed 41 in the first half and 72 through three quarters. Sacramento’s overall field goal percentage hovered in the 30s most of the game and in the 20s after the arc.
Only twice this season has the Kings’ regular lineup failed to score at least 100 points, and the Warriors have done it without their best defensemen.
Not exactly Roaracle
Twice in the second quarter, Curry desperately turned around, waving his arms. He was not seeking a pass nor a whistle from the officials.
Carey wanted a little help, not from his teammates in the field but his ‘mates’ in the benches.
The raucous sell-out crowd (18,064) the Warriors hoped would happen only sporadically. Responses to Curry’s warnings lasted only a few seconds before returning to routine decibel levels in the regular season.
This was a chance to recreate the hype that makes Oracle Arena a home of terror for visitors, and the crowd in the Chase was relatively tame unless the Warriors were on the run.
Given the high stakes — a sizzling dynasty, a loss that put them on the brink of extinction — this was an understatement and nowhere near as hype generated during their first two games in Sacramento.
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