Warriors

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in nail-biting 125-123 win vs. Kings

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in nail-biting 125-123 win vs. Kings

OAKLAND -- The fourth time against the Kings was no different from the previous three for the Warriors, who once again needed all the moxie their championship DNA could muster.

This one wasn’t over until Kings guard Buddy Hield was short on a jumper with two seconds remaining, allowing the Warriors to escape with a 125-123 victory Thursday night at Oracle Arena.

All five Warriors starters scored in double digits, led by Stephen Curry’s 36 points and 28 more from Kevin Durant.

The Warriors (42-16) concluded the season series with a 4-0 record against Sacramento (30-28), the four games decided by a total of 12 points.

Here are three quick takeaways from another thriller:

The superstars shall lead

When all else fails, turn everything over to Curry and Durant. What a luxury.

Curry was the closer, scoring 11 points in the final seven minutes. He was 12-of-23 from the field, including 10-of-16 from deep and 2-of-2 from the line. He also recorded seven assists. He played 36 minutes and was plus-six.

Durant scored 17 of his points in the first half, 13 in the opening quarter. He was 10-of-20 from the field, including 1-of-5 from beyond the arc and 7-of-7 from the line. Durant also totaled nine rebounds and a career-high seven blocks.  He played 37 minutes and finished plus-seven.

On a night when the Kings proved yet again that they are to be taken seriously, the Warriors surely understand that their greatest offensive advantage is having Curry and Durant to pour in the points at critical times.

Second-unit blues

One of the goals for the Warriors over these final weeks of the regular season is finding an effective second unit, one capable of holding, if not extending leads built largely on the exploits of Curry and Durant.

That need was on full display in the second quarter. The Warriors entered with a 35-30 lead it took only three minutes -- and a 15-5 run by Sacramento -- to fall behind 45-40.

The Kings pushed the lead to 11 (54-43). The Warriors were down eight (54-46) when coach Steve Kerr turned to the Hamptons 5 (Curry, Durant, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala and Klay Thompson), who outscored the Kings 14-8 over the final four minutes of the half.

Sure, they missed Shaun Livingston, who was at home with his wife, who is expected to deliver their second child at any time.

But the second unit dug a hole the Warriors spent the rest of the evening trying to climb out of and didn’t gain another five-point lead until 6:36 remained.

Near-death by turnover

Maybe it was because this is the first game after a week-long break. Or maybe it was because after three previous games, the Warriors still haven’t adjusted to the quickness of the Kings.

But the live-ball turnovers just . . . kept . . . coming. They committed a total of 15 giveaways -- including an astonishing 11 in the first half -- off which Sacramento scored 22 points.

Durant and Curry each committed three, while Thompson, Kevon Looney and Cousins each coughed up two.

It was enough to keep the Kings in the game.

Turnovers are a pet peeve of Kerr's, and the Warriors spent most of January and early February keeping them to a minimum. They reverted to the worst of themselves in that regard Thursday night.

Lou Williams trolls Mistah FAB after Warriors' Game 5 loss to Clippers

Lou Williams trolls Mistah FAB after Warriors' Game 5 loss to Clippers

You just knew Lou Williams was going to let the Warriors hear it about this one.

After the Clippers stunned the Warriors in Game 5 of their first-round NBA playoff series in Oakland on Wednesday night, Williams had a gift for rapper and Dubs superfan Mistah FAB, who was sitting courtside.

Williams finished the game with a team-high 33 points and 10 assists in the 129-121 win over the Warriors.

[RELATED: Capela declares he wants Warriors]

Williams was cold-blooded during the game, and he was cold-blooded after it.

Now, instead of resting in the Bay Area for a few days, the Warriors have to get on a plane and fly back to Los Angeles for Game 6 on Friday night.

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 129-121 Game 5 loss vs. Clippers

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 129-121 Game 5 loss vs. Clippers

OAKLAND -- Even as Steve Kerr spent three days talking about the difficulties the Warriors would face in trying to oust the Clippers from the playoffs, he could not have imagined what transpired Wednesday night.

This was Los Angeles performing surgery without anesthesia and the Warriors came away with a painful 129-121 loss in Game 5 of this first-round series.

The Warriors own a three-games-to-two series lead as the teams go back to Los Angeles for Game 6 Friday night at Staples Center.

Here are three takeaways from the game:

The defense rested

For a team on a quest to play into June, the Warriors in this game looked a lot like a bunch ready to go on vacation before May.

This was profoundly obvious on defense, where they were by turns sloppy, indifferent, inattentive and simply less determined than the Clippers were on offense. It was so bad at times you wondered if they’d watched any video.

Guard Lou Williams, under wraps in Games 3 and 4, scored 18 points in the first half and 33 for the game. Forward Danilo Gallinari, contained all series, scored 16 points in the first half and 26 for the game. Patrick Beverley, known mostly for his defense, totaled 17 points.

The Warriors last season amped up their defense in the playoffs. With a chance to put away the Clippers, they couldn’t seem to find the energy. Los Angeles shot 54.1 percent from the field.

Look no further to discern how the Warriors lost this one.

Pounded in the paint

The Clippers shot reasonably well from deep (13-of-34), but they didn’t have to rely on that because they had plenty of success attacking the paint.

LA piled up 54 points in the paint (the Warriors had 34), with hyperactive Montrezl Harrell (24 points, 11-of-14 from the field) continuing his ferocious work inside. Williams also torched the Warriors with his drives and floaters.

The Clippers dominated the glass for most of the night before ending with a 42-39 advantage, with Beverley -- a tenacious 6-foot-1 -- snagging a game-high 11 rebounds.

Don’t blame KD

If you’re looking for a bright spot, turn to Kevin Durant. He was mostly solid on defense, but nothing short of fantastic on offense.

Durant scored 45 points on 14-of-26 shooting, including 5-of-12 from beyond the arc and 12-of-12 from the line. Over the course of the game, he lit up JaMychal Green, Landry Shamet, Beverley and Gallinari.

For the heck of it, Durant also had six rebounds and six assists.

What he didn’t have was enough help.