ORACLE ARENA — The Warriors barely scraped by Wednesday night, finally beating the reeling Sacramento Kings for the first time in three tries this season, 87-83.
This was what you’d call an “ugly win,” as neither team shot better than 40 percent. But that didn’t matter to All-Star David Lee who had 17 points, 10 rebounds and three assists:
Warriors forward David Lee
“At this point of the season we’ll take a win anyway we can get it. I thought that our defense was much improved, and if we’re going to get to where we want to get to this year, we’re going to have to play defense like that and I think our offense will be just fine.”
Golden State was trailing in the final minutes of the game when Klay Thompson — who finished with a game high 20 points and five rebounds — salvaged the night by hitting a crucial 3-pointer with 7.5 seconds left in the game, giving the Warriors an 85-83 lead.
After the game head coach Mark Jackson had no doubts about Thompson’s ability to make big time shots and was pleased with how his team handled the last play:
Warriors coach Mark Jackson
“I watch this guy every single day and this guy is a knockdown shooter in every sense of the term. …That’s what Klay does for a living. I just love the way that we made the play, we read the play, didn’t try to do too much an got a high percentage look out of it.”
The game started well for the Warriors with Thompson, Stephen Curry, and Jarrett Jack all hitting from 3-point range within the first eight minutes.
The crowd was on their feet during a Warriors possession late in the first quarter that displayed the ball movement, rebounding, and effort that have made the Warriors playoff contenders this season.
But the energy fizzled in Oracle Arena in the second quarter, as Golden State put on a lackluster show of bad passes and poor choices, getting outscored 23-13.
Halfway through the second frame the Kings took the lead from the Dubs, who at that point had shot just 1-of-9 from the field.
Coach Jackson made a point after the game to say the Warriors weren’t the best team in the league and that sometimes wins wouldn’t look very good:
“We are not the Miami Heat or the Oklahoma City Thunder, a lot of the nights it is not going to be pretty. That’s a fact and we embrace it.”
The Warriors came out after halftime and got a well-timed burst of energy from Harrison Barnes, who put Golden State back in front where they stayed until the last minutes of the game.
Barnes said coach Jackson talked about energy during halftime and that he was just trying to do his part:
“Their best player wasn’t having a great half yet we were still down three. Everyone kind of collectively just tried to get in that rhythm get in that mode and take it upon themselves to try to get us back into the game.”
Arguably the Kings’ best player, DeMarcus Cousins had more than just a bad half. Cousins scored just five points at the break and was benched by coach Keith Smart for the entire fourth quarter:
Kings coach Keith Smart
“He’s in a slump right now the last two games and he’s not getting what he wants but that’s what happens. You’ve got to learn to grow out of these. You’ve got to learn how to play out of them. … And this is all our players, this is not going to be the DeMarcus Cousins show.”
Sacramento clawed at the lead for the rest of the night and took over with under two minutes to go, but Thompson would have the final say:
Warriors guard Klay Thompson
“D-Lee made a great play to find me in the corner. Hit me right me in the shooting pocket and I was ready to just catch and shoot. It felt good right when it left my hand.”
After Thompson’s last-minute shot, Kings guard Tyreke Evans drove into the paint on the other end hoping to tie the game, but missed the shot. Warriors rookie forward Draymond Green was fouled on the rebound and sealed the deal with free throws.
The Warriors will be at Oracle for back-to-back games: Friday against Houston and Saturday vs. Milwaukee and former Warrior, Monta Ellis. Lee says it’ll be another important test.
“No question, it’s going to be two more home games. We expect to win every game at home. We know these are two teams that are playing pretty well right now. We’re going to have to play better than we’ve been playing but we’ve always been able to rise to a challenge, especially here in this building and it’s going to be an exciting weekend.”
Golden State won despite shooting only 36 percent from the field. The last time the Warriors won shooting 36 percent or worse and won was Feb. 24, 2003 at Denver when the W’s shot 35.8 percent from the floor. … Both the Warriors and Kings scored below 90 points for the first time in a game between the teams since the Rochester Royals defeated the Philadelphia Warriors, 82-79 on Mar. 6, 1957. … Golden State held Sacramento to 83 points, tied for the fewest points the Kings have scored against the Warriors in the Sacramento era (also on Mar. 26, 2006). … The Warriors took 24 of their 29 free throw attempts in the second half. … The Warriors have sold out 18 consecutive home games and have 20 sellouts out of 27 home games this season.