SACRAMENTO — With an opening night crowd entranced by the World Series, a first half of stop-and-go basketball riddled with fouls offered little excitement.
Late in the second quarter, the crowd erupted into a frenzy as the final out of the Giants vs. Royals game was counted and the Sacramento Kings hype man announced:
“There will be a parade in San Francisco.”
Stephen Curry told SFBay it was hard to focus on the game when the crowd was going crazy during dead balls. At first the team wasn’t sure what was happening:
“That was an interesting five or so minutes … I heard there was a single that turned into a triple in the ninth so that must have been when we looked up and half the people that were in the first section were all turned around watching the TVs in the suites. I thought there was a fight at first in the stands.”
Sacramento’s festivities started earlier in the day when the Kings officially broke ground on their new arena in downtown Sacramento, and continued through the night honoring past owners and Kings legends celebrating 30 years of NBA in California’s capital.
But the Warriors came into town and took away the Kings opportunity to finish the day on a bright note.
In Steve Kerr‘s regular season coaching debut with the Warriors, Golden State fought through foul trouble and turnovers, beating the Kings 95-77.
Despite the Warriors first-half woes, contributions from Draymond Green and Marreese Speights that kept the Warriors in the game. Head coach Steve Kerr credited the two as being the teams saving grace:
“We finally got busy on the boards. Draymond was terrific and of course Speights came in and saved us.”
As the crowd settled and the second half started, the Warriors front court sustained a blow.
In the first three minutes of the third frame Andrew Bogut and Festus Ezeli both tallied their fourth personal foul. But just moments later Ognjen Kuzmic committed his fourth foul, forcing the Warriors to play small ball.
Golden State’s small lineup settled into an offensive rhythm after a fast-break dunk from Harrison Barnes put the Warriors on top 55-54. The Kings never managed to catch up.
Golden State charged on with an 17-2 run giving them a 14-point lead as the Kings heard boos from their home crowd.
Kerr said the small group he put in played lights out and that they were able to switch at a speed that put them in a position to extend the lead:
“We went to that lineup for pace. That’s always going to be an option for us. It’s the beauty of having this roster. I can’t believe how lucky I am that with my first team to have this type of versatility, tough minded guys. They all contributed.”
Curry, in foul trouble himself led the way with a double-double of 24 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists followed by Klay Thompson with 19 points.
The Warriors return to the Bay Area for their regular season home opener against the Lakers on Saturday.
Demarcus Cousins led the Kings with 20 points and 11 rebounds, earning the 151st double-double of his career. … The Warriors improved their all-time record in season openers to 30-39 and have won four of their last five season openers. … The Warriors defeated the Kings for the fifth straight time. The last time the Kings defeated the Warriors was on March 27, 2013 (105-98) at Golden State.