They’re not there. Not yet. Even after the historic heroics of Stephen Curry on Sunday, the Warriors will be home underdogs for the third consecutive game.
And this time, it’s against the Sacramento Kings – whose 3-3 record matches that of the Warriors.
When the teams meet Monday night at Chase Center, the Warriors, longtime tormentors of their Northern California neighbors, will be trying to reestablish a measure of ownership. The Kings have won the last three meetings, after the Warriors won 22 of the previous 26.
Here are three keys to victory for the Warriors:
When Curry took the floor Sunday against Portland, he was, in the words of teammate Draymond Green, “a man on a mission.” Curry scored 21 points in the first quarter on 7-of-11 shooting. He posted a career-high 62, on 18-of-31 shooting in a 137-122 rout.
He was successful shooting from all three levels and also made 18 of 19 free throws, indicative of his willingness to attack. Curry’s aggression intensified Golden State’s offense to its highest point total since hitting 141 on Feb. 6, 2019 against the Spurs.
Curry might not deliver a second consecutive mega-monster night, but he plays the full four quarters he should aim for at least 25 shots.
Stay on the glass
The Warriors posted their first rebounding advantage this season, 53-40, on Sunday. Winning that battle against Sacramento greatly boosts their chance of winning.
The Kings are a solid rebounding team overall – Richaun Holmes, Marvin Bagley and Harrison Barnes all average at least 8.0 per game – but lead the NBA in defensive rebounding percentage, indicating a lot of one-shot possessions for their opponents.
The Warriors benefitted from team rebounding against Portland, as four of five starters had at least five, as did Kent Bazemore (eight) and Kevon Looney (five) off the bench. James Wiseman had a team-high 11 in 22 minutes. That concept needs to be applied once again.
Attack the paint
The Kings thus far have been surprisingly good at defending the 3-point arc, holding opponents to 32.9 percent, fifth in the league. (The Warriors, by contrast, at 28th, at 42.5 percent). But Sacramento has been soft inside the arc, with teams shooting an NBA-best 58.3 percent.
Though Curry did a fantastic job inside the arc on Sunday, making 10-of-15, these statistics should speak loudly to slashers Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre Jr.
Wiggins is only 27-of-67 (40.3 percent) inside the arc. He’s getting to the rim but having trouble finishing. Oubre, only 2-of-30 from distance, is 22-of-45 (48.9 percent) inside the arc. He scored in double figures in each of his last three games, including a season-high 17 on Sunday. This could be the game he needs.