The young, upstart Kings (6-14) pushed around the Warriors (15-6), who were without their two leading scorers Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, escaping on the power of an 8-0 run over the final 1:57 of the game.
Without the 50 points per game of Curry and Durant it looked like a big game for Draymond Green and Klay Thompson was on deck, but the All-Star duo struggled to find a rhythm as pieces of new lineup groupings.
Green shot just 4-of-15 with 11 of those shots, and all four makes, coming from behind the arc, not necessarily the best part of Green’s game. While Thompson led the team with 21 points, he did so on an inefficient 7-of-20 from the field, including three straight misses that could have sealed the game in the closing minutes.
Steve Kerr‘s annoyance at the Warriors’ shot selection down the stretch was palpable after the game:
“Yeah, I didn’t love the shots down the stretch. We couldn’t get any penetration, we couldn’t get anything going to the basket. I’m going have to watch the tape, but I didn’t love our execution down the stretch. We did not get good shots.”
When they were getting things going it was Kerr’s role players who took the reins, but that proved to be insufficient for securing a win.
Patrick McCaw and Omri Casspi took the places of the injured stars in the starting lineup to put together a makeshift rotation. McCaw logged 33 minutes on the court, matching Thompson and fewer only than Green among Warriors players — it was his heaviest minute workload since putting in 34 last April. Casspi got 30.
It’s been a trying season so far for McCaw after he put together a very promising rookie campaign last year. But he turned in easily his best game this season, shooting 5-of-8 from the field for a season-high 16 points to go with four steals, three boards and seven assists.
That was exactly what the Warriors need from McCaw, Kerr said:
“That’s what we want from Pat is the aggressiveness, looking to shoot the ball. He got to the line four times. His defense was good. Pat’s an excellent player, he’s got a lot of potential and ability and we just have to keep pulling it out of him.”
The second-year guard played with a ton of confidence, which he had been lacking in previous games, and took it to highly regarded rookie De’Aaron Fox, who finished with just six points.
Jordan Bell, another Warriors youngster who has had an up and down season so far, managed to put his stamp on the game despite playing just six minutes, all in the second quarter. He finished with four points and five rebounds, while noticeably boosting the team’s energy in his short stint.
The growing chorus for Bell to start getting regular rotation minutes will no doubt grow louder after his performance, especially watching the other Golden State bigs get beasted by Willie Cauley-Stein in crunch time. Cauley-Stein, though, would finished with team-leading totals in points (19) and rebounds (8).
Green wouldn’t go as far as to say Bell needs to get more minutes, but he did hint at it:
“I mean it’s not really my job to say, yeah it’s time for Jordan to get more minutes — that ain’t on me. What I will say is that when he’s out there he makes things happen. Shaun (Livingston) and I were talking on the bench, like he just gets out there and makes plays. It’s not necessarily that he’s making a great pass or whatever it is, but he just makes things happen, and usually that gets rewarded with more playing time.”
But this wasn’t a game lost solely on the back of a questionable rotation left baron in the absence of two former MVPs, it was also the inability of the remaining stars to continue to get good shots late, as well as the complete lack of defensive focus down the stretch.
And that left the Warriors looking and feeling like some court jesters.
The Warriors now embark on a season-long six-game, 11-day road trip and won’t return to Oracle until Dec. 11. First up on their roadtrip is a short trek down south to take on LaVar Ball’s son and the Los Angeles Lakers (8-12) Wednesday night.
The loss snaps the Warriors streak of eight consecutive home wins against the Kings. The last time the Warriors lost at home to the Kings was March 2013. … Matt Barnes received his championship ring Monday night as well as his two sons, who got rings of their own.
After 14 NBA seasons, Matt Barnes received his first championship ring … and the Warriors gave his sons rings, too! ???????????? pic.twitter.com/9Fh5cnkI3x
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) November 28, 2017