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Warriors-Kings Game 5: Golden State Outlasts Sacramento to Go Up 3-2

The Golden State Warriors defeated the Sacramento Kings 123-116 in Game 5 after losing Games 1 and 2 in Sacramento. The defending champions showed their pedigree in this hard-fought game.

The Warriors were just 11-30 on the road during the regular season, or about one win every four games. They just got one road win out of four available chances in the series. Can they win Game 6 in San Francisco and move on to the second round?

Warriors-Kings Game 5: Golden State Outlasts Sacramento to Go Up 3-2

Warriors-Kings Game 5: First-Half Recap

These teams proved yet again it’s impossible for them to play an uneventful game. This started as an absolute shootout, with Keegan Murray picking up right where he left off in Game 4 (10 first-quarter points, 2/2 from three). De’Aaron Fox had no issues shooting with his fractured index finger. He was 3/3 from three, and the Kings made eight as a team. The hot shooting propelled them to a 36-33 lead at the end of one.

Early on, both teams proved more adept at slowing themselves down than defending the other. Golden State finished the half with eight turnovers, while Sacramento had nine giveaways of their own. Stephen Curry found a rhythm from midrange in the second, but the Kings kept a small lead until Klay Thompson erupted. He made three threes within 1.5 minutes at the 4:55 mark of the quarter. The Warriors led by six with 2:45 left after a Draymond Green and-one. Thompson’s 11 second-quarter points helped Golden State take a 60-56 lead into halftime.

Warriors-Kings Game 5: Second-Half Recap

The Kings’ shooting, which cooled off in the second quarter, turned frigid to start the third. Curry and Thompson continued to score, while Jordan Poole had some impressive steals and a slashing layup in transition.

The Warriors led by eight midway through the quarter, but Harrison Barnes increased his physicality and went 7/7 from the free-throw line to keep the Kings competitive. Golden State ended the quarter strong thanks to Green (who did not start) defending Fox and scoring seven in the final 4.5 minutes. The Warriors started the fourth quarter with a 99-90 advantage.

Gary Payton II was hugely impactful to start the fourth. He forced turnovers and a jump ball, grabbed offensive rebounds, and added a couple of highlight finishes around the rim. Malik Monk, who had found a rhythm late in the third quarter, refused to let Sacramento recede meekly. Golden State started to show fatigue in the final frame. Poole and Green each committed transition take fouls in the quarter, and turnovers spread through the team like a virus. 

Steve Kerr called a timeout up 1 with 4:14 left, and the Warriors showed their championship mettle. Green, Thompson, and Curry each made shots, while Monk scored to give himself 14 for the quarter. The Warriors called another timeout after Monk set Sabonis up for a layup and stole the Kings’ crown. Wiggins scored a midrange bucket, and Curry dribbled into an and-one layup over Barnes reminiscent of the AND1 mixtape tour. 

Sacramento could only brick threes in response; after going 8-12 in the first quarter, the Kings finished just 10-34 from three for the game. Golden State held on for the victory and put themselves on the precipice of the second round.

Game 6 Preview

The Warriors have a habit of figuring teams out as a series goes on, even when trailing. Think about the 2-1 deficit to Cleveland in 2015 or the 3-2 deficit to Houston in 2018. They even trailed Boston 2-1 in last year’s finals before winning the final three games. This series is starting to have a similar feel after three straight Golden State wins.

At this point in a playoff series, there are rarely any magical coaching adjustments available. Golden State could encourage Curry to be more aggressive to score early in games to tire out Fox and gain a rhythm before Davion Mitchell checks in. Mike Brown can (finally) mothball Alex Len, a serviceable big man who is outclassed in this matchup. These are small suggestions, though; these teams know who they are and know their opponent as well.

Facing elimination, Sacramento needs to make stopping Kevon Looney a bigger priority. He’s not a scoring threat, but he’s averaging 4.2 offensive rebounds per game in this series after grabbing seven in this game. Second shot attempts are deadly when given to an offense this lethal. Looney is practiced at kicking the ball out to open shooters against a defense scrambling for a rebound. Domantas Sabonis needs to be better at boxing out.

Mike Brown and the Kings will also be wary of a Game 6 Klay sighting. Thompson got loose for 25 points on 10/19 shooting, including 5/11 from three. He’s shooting 63% on twos in this series; most are midrange jumpers, and many are off the dribble. Murray has often received the Thompson assignment, and he’ll need to focus on not allowing Thompson any airspace all game.

The Last Word


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