SACRAMENTO — The Warriors swept the season series against the Kings for the second consecutive year, with an easy 121-99 win on the road Tuesday night.
The Kings sprinted out to a 10-point lead, but their early success looked like a friendly gesture from the Warriors compared to the beating Golden State handed out the rest of the night.
Closing out the first quarter, the Kings missed nine straight shots allowing the Warriors to go on a 23-0 run that extended into the second frame.
The Warriors kept Sacramento in the dark throughout the rest of the first half. With Stephen Curry leading the way, finishing the night with 23 points, Marreese Speights had another stand-out game, scoring 11 of his 17 points in the second quarter.
The Warriors outscored the Kings 34-20 through the second frame for a 63-42 lead at the half.
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said the bench coming up big was the reason Golden State was able to take over the game:
“I told Mo how proud I was of him, cause you know I didn’t play him against Phoenix based on match ups and to throw him out there against Cousins, after he gets a DNP, he has just another great night. David Lee was fantastic … I can go down the list, Andre Iguodala, LB, just an amazing effort off the bench and good timing, because we’ve got four in five nights.”
Battling DeMarcus Cousins, who scored a game-high 26 points, the Golden State bigs faced foul trouble throughout the night. But the return of Festus Ezeli gave the Warriors depth, making foul trouble really no trouble at all against Sacramento.
Kerr said having Ezeli healthy just added to the arsenal the Warriors are able to use against teams, especially teams that have a strong center:
“Cousins is a load. He’s a wrecking ball out there. He draws a lot of fouls and you just have to stay with it, keep after him. He’s a handful. But its good to have multiple guys to be able to throw at him.”
Even in the third when the Kings rallied behind Rudy Gay and Cousins combining for 25 points in the quarter to cut the Warriors lead to 11 points, Curry hit a trey to end the frame and put a damper on the Kings’ efforts.
With just under five minutes remaining, the Warriors fans in Sleep Train Arena added insult to injury, overpowering a ‘let’s go Kings’ chant with an even louder and stronger ‘let’s go Warriors’ answer.
Draymond Green, who finished with a modest but respectable eight points, six rebounds and four assists as well as gritty defense, is known as a guy who doesn’t mind a bit of taunting and throwing salt in wounds.
Green told SFBay the game might have been out of reach for the Kings by that point, but hearing the fans get loud helped the Warriors finish strong:
“That was amazing, they took this place over. Dub Nation rises again, that was just crazy. Seeing that kind of support makes you want to go even harder … I liked it.”
The Warriors starters — save Harrison Barnes — were able to rest for the final stanza, thanks to the sizable lead, in preparation for Wednesday’s game against the Mavericks and the Golden State reserves closed out the game.
The Warriors, now 38-8, will host Dallas Wednesday before heading out on a four-game road trip to face Atlanta, New York, Philadelphia and Minnesota.
The Warriors have won the last eight meetings against the Kings, including the last four in Sacramento. … Golden State’s bench outscored Sacramento’s, 61-12. The Warriors are 22-0 when their bench outscore the opponents bench. … Stephen Curry finished with 23 points and Klay Thompson scored 14 points. It was the 14th straight game in which Curry or Thompson has been the Warriors’ leading scorer. Overall, it is the 39th game this season in which one to the two has been the leading scorer. … Demarcus Cousins finished with a game-high 26 points to go with 11 rebounds, four assists, three steals and four blocks, recording his 29th double-double of the season, 12th in the last 13 games. … Ben McLemore tied his career high with four three-pointers made en route to an 18-point effort.