Draymond lifts listless Warriors offense over Kings

In a half-hearted slog of a game, it’s no surprise that Draymond Green was the Warriors’ engine. What was surprising was the way he did it. He wasn’t just the fiery defensive leader—although he was that—but he was their best scorer as well as their best shooter.

Green finished with a season-high 23 points on 8-of-17 shooting with three 3-pointers in the Warriors 114-100 victory of the Kings Friday. He actually led the Warriors in 3-pointers too until late in the fourth when Stephen Curry would hit three daggers.

This story has been updated with quotes and post-game material from the Warriors’ locker room at Oracle Arena.

Green said he wasn’t specifically trying to score more, he was just in a flow:

“It just happens. I was able to get a couple layups and dunks early on and kind of found a little rhythm. I got to the free throw line a little bit and got a few shots to fall. But my teammates definitely found me in great position to score.”

Curry himself finished with 27 points, seven rebounds, six steals and a season high 12 assists. The two of them along with Ian Clark who scored 10, were the only Warriors in double figures against a D-League-esque Kings team.

One of the positives of Kevin Durant missing so much time is it has allowed Green to shoulder a bigger role in the offense and get back to his attacking ways. His shot hasn’t fallen as much as he would like — he’s shooting just 35.2 percent without Durant — but he’s involved in almost every action in the offense, which creates havoc for anyone trying to guard the Warriors.

Though the score was close at times, the Warriors were in no real danger and leisurely strolled through this game, in a game that against any other team this is probably very close or a loss.

Steve Kerr was not happy with the way his team defended:

“I thought we regressed defensively overall compared to the last five games. And we’ll have to play better against Memphis on that end of the floor.”

Maybe they were looking past Sacramento to the matchup with Memphis on Sunday, and really how can you blame them. The Kings with no Cousins are already a shell of a team, then take into account they rested Darren Collison, Tyreke Evans and Anthony Tolliver. Plus, they are already without the injured Rudy Gay and rookie Malachi Richardson.

So really, they had no chance.

And it showed in the Warriors’ body language. There was no urgency to anything they were doing, and they tried to clown on the Kings as much as possible.

Curry was pretty thankful that pass was caught:

“That’s an amazing finish. And that was a pass that I wouldn’t have looked over at Coach Kerr if it didn’t land in Andre’s hands because I knew what he would say.”

They actually struggled to score for much of the game, shooting just 10-of-31 from deep. And Klay Thompson who entered the game scoring 20 in seven straight games failed to reach double digits, finishing with just eight points on 3-of-14 shooting.

But the bench gave them enough of a lift with the quartet of David West, Shaun Livingston, Andre Iguodala and JaVale McGee combining for 34 points. West especially had himself a game with three boards, four assists and three blocks to go along with his points and has looked like his young self the past six games.

West said he’s really enjoying being in a pass-happy offense:

“It’s great man, we have guys who cut and constantly move without the ball. We have a system in place and we just talk about making more passes then the other team, making more cuts then the other team.”

The Warriors won’t be able to play this way Sunday if they want a win, but from what we’ve seen all year this is their M.O. against suboptimal teams. And that’s pretty generous to call the Kings even that.

Up Next

After their win tonight the Warriors will get a day break before taking on the Memphis Grizzlies Sunday at Oracle. The Grizzlies have been one of the few teams to give the Warriors problems this year as they won the first two contests by a combined 30 points before Golden State was able to beat them on February 10. But the Grizzlies have struggled lately, losing seven of their last 11 games.

Notes

The Warriors won their eighth straight game against the Kings at Oracle. Surprisingly it’s their longest home winning streak since 1985. …With his five 3-pointers, Curry now owns the top three single-season totals for 3-pointers in NBA history. … The Warriors handed out 37 assists against the Kings, which marks the 44th time they’ve topped 30 assists in a game. That sets a franchise record for most 30-assist games in a single season.


Curtis Uemura is SFBay’s Golden State Warriors beat writer. Follow @SFBay and @CUemura on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of Warriors basketball.