ORACLE ARENA — It seems these days the Warriors only know how to win.
Demarcus Cousins coming into Oracle with Andrew Bogut sidelined seemed like it could have been a problem. But the Warriors never batted an eye against Sacramento on their way to a 128-108 blowout.
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said he knew what the Kings’ strengths were and that his team was ready for the challenge:
“That was the biggest concern coming in because Cousins is such a handful. But without Bogs, we still feel good about our ability to defend the paint with Festus and Mo and even then when we go small we like our activity.”
The game was kept relatively close through the first eight minutes, but the Warriors closed out the first quarter on a 19-2 run for a 36-20 lead.
Without their starting center, the Warriors dominated the glass and outplayed the Kings in nearly every stat column through the rest of the contest, giving the Kings zero chance of climbing back into the game.
Klay Thompson led the way with 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting including a 13-point third quarter, though Golden State had multiple scorers step up. Every Warrior to take the floor notched points for Golden State, and in garbage time the deep reserves maintained the lead with ease.
Kerr said he’s familiar with the feeling of being a guy deep on the bench, waiting for a moment to shine. He told SFBay getting minutes for everyone and seeing players have successful performances are keys to building confidence:
“Its great for chemistry and confidence. These are the fun games when everybody gets in, and scores, and plays and feels good afterwards.”
Justin Holiday and Festus Ezeli finished the night with career-highs in points. Ezeli logged 15 points and six rebounds, just his second double-digit outing (first on Jan. 19, 2013), while Holiday closed out the game with 18 points.
David Lee returned to the Warriors lineup after reinjuring his left hamstring on Nov. 5 in the only game he had played this season. He added six points and seven rebounds off the bench in just over 15 minutes.
Lee told SFBay it was the first time in more than five years he had been nervous to play basketball. He said felt great and was reassured about how dangerous the team can be:
“I was definitely the most excited guy in the NBA to play basketball tonight. … I thought I contributed and most importantly we got a win and I thought the guys played really well tonight and I think it was a demonstration of how good our depth can be.”
The Warriors, now 23-3 with the best record in the league, head to L.A. to face the Lakers Tuesday with a one-day breather before taking on the Clippers on Christmas Day.
Golden State earned its eighth consecutive win at home, their longest home winning streak since a 10-game stretch in 1994. … The Warriors shot .538 from the field compared to Sacramento’s .478 and held their 27th straight opponent to under .500 shooting, the longest active streak in the NBA. … The Warriors bench scored a season-high 62 points. All 13 active Warriors scored. Klay Thompson scored a game-high 25 points and dished out three assists for his 16th 20-point performance this season, and his 25th straight game scoring in double-figures, a career-best streak.