SACRAMENTO -- 0-3. That is the Sacramento Kings’ record against the Golden State Warriors this season. It’s not exactly something to boast about, but the record might not tell the entire story.
Call it moral victories. Call it three learning experiences. Call it whatever you want, but the Kings have been in each game all the way down the wire.
Despite their first four-game losing streak of the season, the spirits are high in Sacramento. They know they’ve let a few games slip away late, but they also know how difficult the schedule has been since Dec. 1.
The Kings have dropped below .500 for the first time since time since Nov. 29. At 19-20, they have still have a legitimate shot to finish the first half of the season with a winning record.
Sacramento will have to wait until after the All-Star break to finish their season series against the Champs. Here is a look at the first three games against the Warriors this season.
In the first matchup between these two teams, Golden State came in shorthanded and Kings rookie Marvin Bagley III posted the best game of his short career.
Sacramento won the first and second quarters, but the Warriors took the third to make it 95-93 lead into the final frame.
Kevin Durant starred all night for Golden State, but he was unstoppable in the fourth, scoring 17 of his 44 points in the final 12 minutes. Buddy Hield responded with 12 of his team-high 28 in the quarter.
The two clubs stayed close all the way down to the final whistle. De’Aaron Fox hit a pair of clutch free throws to give the Kings a 116-115 lead with 26.6 seconds remaining.
Willie Cauley-Stein blocked Klay Thompson with eight seconds remaining, but the All-Star guard grabbed the rebound and gave the Warriors the lead back with a layup with 5.8 seconds on the clock.
The final seconds were a blur with Sacramento missing two attempts as time expired.
Defining moment: With 3.2 seconds remaining, Bagley wedged a putback between the rim and the backboard that would have given the Kings the lead. The series of events that followed were strange by any NBA standard.
A jump ball was called. Hield chased down the tip, but time expired. The officiating crew gave the Kings a timeout and put .3 back on the clock. Iman Shumpert’s inbounds pass ws tipped and Sacramento failed to get a shot off.
Missing bodies: The Kings were at full strength. Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and DeMarcus Cousins all missed the contest for Golden State.
The Warriors led 103-97 heading into the fourth quarter, but the Kings kept charging. Sacramento opened the fourth with a 15-2 run to take seven point lead at the 8:45 mark of the period.
Over the next four minutes of the quarter, the Kings gave away that lead in its entirety and then bounced back to take a 10-point advantage at the 4:23 mark of the fourth.
From this point on, it was all Warriors. Golden State posted a 17-2 run over the final 3:03 to come away with the 130-125 victory. The Kings shot just 1-of-5 from the field down the stretch, while the Warriors hit 8-of-9 from the free throw line.
Kevin Durant scored 13 of his 35 points in the final 12 minutes. Buddy Hield responded with 10 of his team-high 27 in the fourth.
Defining moment: Fox buried an 18-foot jumper to give the Kings a two-point lead with 46.8 seconds remaining. Thompson responded with a 3-pointer to give Golden State the lead back with 39.6 seconds on the clock. Hield missed a 26-foot 3-pointer with 5.4 seconds remaining that would have tied the game.
Missing bodies: Marvin Bagley III went down with bone bruise in his left knee after a fall in the first quarter and did not return. Damian Jones, Iguodala, Livingston and Cousins all missed the contest for Golden State.
In a wild game of runs, the Warriors and Kings combined to knock down an NBA record 41 3-point attempts. It was also the first time in NBA history that both teams hit 20 or more shots from behind the arc.
The Kings trailed by as many as 15 early, but they never went away. Golden State continued to hit Sacramento with runs and the home team recovered, even taking a seven point lead into the fourth quarter.
The game had the feel of a heavy weight battle with each team landing body blow after body blow. In the end, the team with the experience (and three rings in the last four years) won out.
Curry was the star of the night for Golden State. Arguably the greatest shooter in the history of the league, Curry knocked down 10-of-20 from behind the arc on his way to 42 points.
Hield came into the fourth quarter with 32 points, but went scoreless in a little over seven minutes of action in the final frame. The Warriors did their best to keep the ball out of his hands and when he did manage to get it, Thompson, Iguodala or Durant were all over him.
With the focus on Hield, Justin Jackson was left open and the 23-year-old wing had a career night. Jackson scored 13 of the Kings’ 20 points in the quarter on his way to a 28 point outburst.
Defining moment: With a minute left in the game and the Kings trailing by two, De’Aaron Fox made an errant pass that led to an Iguodala alley-oop on the other end. The Kings pulled within two with 9.9 seconds remaining, but they were forced to foul and Curry hit his shots.
Missing bodies: Shumpert was a late scratch with a finger issue. Bagley sat with the bone bruise in his left knee that he sustained in Game 1 against the Warriors. Jones, Livingston and Cousins missed the contest for Golden State.