Warriors

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Warriors

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SACRAMENTO -- Three times this season, the defending NBA champion Warriors flirted with falling to the upstart Sacramento Kings, and three times, they got away with it. 

The teams traded leads nine times in the fourth quarter Saturday night before the Warriors went in front for good and walked out of Golden 1 Center with a 127-123 victory.

The Warriors (26-14) and Kings (19-20) combined for 41 3-point field goals, an NBA record for one game.

Here are three takeaways from a game that shook a sold-out arena in downtown Sacramento:

Contender offense

The Warriors’ offense mostly operated with machine-like precision and very evident purpose. The ball movement was there, as was the player movement.

That approach delivered splendid results. The Warriors shot 50.5 percent from the field, 44.7 percent from beyond the arc. They recorded 29 assists. They looked like themselves much more often than not.

Stephen Curry poured in a game-high 42 points, Kevin Durant had 29 and Klay Thompson put in 20. They combined to shoot 54.1 percent from the field, including 48.5 percent from deep.

[RELATED: Splash! Warriors, Kings set NBA record for 3-pointers]

Quinn Cook added 10 points off the bench, making 3 of 4 3-pointers on clean looks.

It was clear the Warriors wanted to meet their high offensive standard. They did in every way, with the exception of turnovers.

 

Pretender defense

Aside from the very early moments of each half and the final minutes of the game, the Warriors were picked apart by the speed and aggression of Sacramento’s offense.

They also had a disturbing tendency to forget about Kings guard Buddy Hield, one of the best 3-point shooters in the league this season. Once Hield heated up from beyond the arc, a bunch of his teammates followed.

Getting open looks in both the half-court and transition, Sacramento scorched the nets at an absurd 55.6 percent from deep, with Hield going 8 of 13.

The Warriors have allowed 836 points over their last seven games, an average of 119.6 points per opponent. That is not a winning formula.

Sloppy, risky, silly

Despite this being the third time the Warriors have seen Sacramento, they still don’t seem to properly respect the quickness of the Kings.

Time and time again, the Warriors threw passes that were intercepted or deflected or otherwise rerouted. They committed 14 turnovers -- not a horrible number -- all but two being of the live-ball variety.

That’s one of the factors that kept the Kings in the game, as they scored 29 points off those turnovers.

Curry was the main culprit with six turnovers, but he also offset his sins with stellar marksmanship from the field.

[RELATED: Outsider Observation: Steph needs ball in his hands more]

In that regard, the Warriors won despite themselves.