Former Warriors coach Keith Smart and his Kings have had Golden State’s number all year, winning the season series 3-1 and narrowly missing sweep of the series altogether. The Kings present many unfavorable matchups for the Warriors, who were flat out outplayed in three and a half of the four games.
Isaiah Thomas exploded in the third quarter for the Kings, finishing with 31 points and seven three-pointers on the night. Listed at just 5’9″, he looked nearly unstoppable when the feeble backcourt duo of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson were defending him.
It wasn’t a good night for Curry or Thompson, who not only got torched defensively, but also combined for just 6-31 shooting, 3-17 from beyond the arc, and five turnovers. It’s not as if they were playing against the Miami Heat. They were playing at home against a Kings team had just six road wins on the season.
If the Warriors plan on not only doing well in the playoffs, but making the playoffs at all, they need to play with heart every single time they set foot on the court. The Warriors embarrassed themselves on Wednesday night on both ends of the floor with a total lack of execution.
Coach Mark Jackson never seems to change his game plan no matter what the situation is. He will ride the same players down the stretch no matter what. At some point you have to make a move and either go with the hot hand or get rid of the cold one.
Klay Thompson had one of the worst performances that I’ve seen by anyone in the NBA all season with a stat line of just four points, four assists, three rebounds, two turnovers, and five fouls in 34 minutes. He shot just 1-13 from the field and 1-8 from three-point range while getting to the free-throw line just once.
While Thompson is a great shooter more often than not, he contributes absolutely nothing else but running to the corner and spotting up. At 6′-7″, Thompson could not even defend the 5′-9″ Thomas. He does not rebound, pass, screen, cut, or have any speck of basketball IQ whatsoever. So why does Mark Jackson continue to go with him time and time again while he hoists up brick after uninspired brick that never had a shot of going down?
It’s time that Jackson starts utilizing Harrison Barnes, who is their only player with the ability to create and finish at the rim. More often than not, Barnes is the most athletic player on the floor for either team. When shots aren’t falling, go to Barnes. It’s not that hard to figure out, unless you’re Mark Jackson.
Give credit where credit is due though, the Kings outshout and out-rebounded the Warriors all night and killed them in both second chance points and points off turnovers. Golden State could never get that big stop all night, and when they did they couldn’t control the rebound. Sacramento came into Oracle Arena with confidence and poise and left with a season series victory.
The one bright spot for the Warriors was the play of their big men. They outscored the Kings 68-38 in the paint and Andrew Bogut had one of his best games of the season, especially on the offensive end. He appears to be getting into better shape with every game that passes and his ankle is allowing him to explode and finish at the rim like we haven’t seen all season.
Bogut had 12 points, nine rebounds, two assists, and four blocks, but more importantly had multiple dunks in traffic. It is a great sign for the Warriors.
David Lee added to his double-double total, scoring 20 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. He now has 49 on the year, leading the league.
The Warriors had decent bench play with Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry leading the way. Jack finished with 16 points and seven assists. Landry had 16 points and seven rebounds in just 18 minutes off of the bench against his former Kings team, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the hideous scoring drought of their starting backcourt.
Golden State is off until Saturday night when they host Oakland native and Rookie of the Year front runner Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers.
You can follow Rich Peters on twitter @Tricky_Roma.