In surviving Sacramento, the Warriors showcased their experience, their moxie and their ability to respond to a highly competitive challenge.
The Kings made 20 3-pointers and the Warriors made 21. That basically was the difference in the outcome -- and also resulted in an NBA record for combined triples (41) in a game.
The Warriors’ 127-123 victory Saturday night was, despite the 250 total points and NBA-record 41 combined 3-point makes, a triumph of economy. The Warriors scored just enough and played just enough defense to overcome the spunky Kings.
The Warriors are now 3-0 against their Northern California neighbors.
Here are some positives and negatives they can take from their fourth consecutive win over the Kings dating back to last season:
The three shooters
Stephen Curry (42 points), Kevin Durant (29) and Klay Thompson (20) combined for 91 points on 54.1 percent shooting. Moreover, they were 16-of-33 (48.5 percent) from beyond the arc. Their shots were, by and large, off good looks against a vulnerable Kings defense.
When the deadly trio can get into that kind of rhythm, any shooting record is endangered.
The live-ball turnovers
How did the Kings, playing such mediocre defense, stay the game? With the help of the Warriors, who committed only 14 turnovers, but all but two were live-ball turnovers that launched Sacramento’s scorching transition game. The Kings scored 29 points off the giveaways and routed the Warriors 32-15 in fast break points.
“Every time we turned the ball over it was a three or a dunk,” coach Steve Kerr said. “That’s what kept them in the game.”
That’s the distilled truth, considering how easy uncontested transition 3s are.
The late suffocation
The Warriors were in a fight partly because their turnovers sent the Kings into instant offense, much of which was derived from 3-pointers. Sacramento made 20 of their first 31 3-point attempts. When the Kings took a lead on a Justin Jackson triple with 3:18 remaining -- the sixth of nine lead changes in the quarter -- the Warriors shut off their turnovers and shut down the 3-pointers (0-of-5) down the stretch.
When they absolutely had to stop the Kings to secure the win, the Warriors did exactly that.
Livingston limps off
Shaun Livingston made his usual first appearance, starting the second quarter, and wasn’t particularly effective at either end. He lasted 13 seconds short of four minutes before leaving with soreness in his left knee.
“He tweaked his knee a little bit,” Kerr said. “It’s not serious. It’s creaky.”
Livingston’s play suggests there may have been an issue beforehand. If there is any question at all by Tuesday, the Warriors will sit him for the home game against the Knicks.