SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Golden State coach Steve Kerr praised his team’s smothering defense for providing the spark it needed to bounce back from a disappointing loss. He also chided the Warriors’ offense for a lack of focus that made the a late run necessary.
Not much is coming easy for the two-time defending NBA champs this season, not even on a night when they got another big night from the All-Star trio of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson.
Thompson made a go-ahead 3-pointer with 38.5 seconds left, Curry added four free throws down the stretch and the Warriors ended the game on a big run after a sluggish start to the fourth quarter, beating the Sacramento Kings 130-125 on Friday night.
“I don’t know what they shot over the final six minutes but it wasn’t good,” Kerr said. “We knew we could get back in it if we were just poised and a little more patient offensively. We had several spurts in that second half where we sort of lost our composure and just couldn’t get anything going.”
The Warriors have been searching for some consistency after starting the season 10-1. They went into Sacramento having split their previous 18 games and were on the verge of a complete collapse against the Kings before holding on.
Curry finished with 35 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Thompson had 27 points and nine rebounds while Kevin Durant added 33 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.
“Late in the game we just simplified everything,” Durant said. “We were down 10 points in the fourth with three minutes to go, we just simplified it.”
Two days after a 20-point home loss to NBA-leading Toronto, the Warriors put up 103 points through three quarters, went stagnant for more than eight minutes in the fourth before outscoring the Kings 17-2 over the final 3:03.
Durant had 13 points in the fourth quarter, including eight of the first 10 during Golden State’s late surge, but Thompson came up with the biggest shot with his fourth 3-pointer of the night.
The Kings repeatedly left Thompson unguarded throughout the game and paid for it in the end when his 27-footer put the Warriors up 126-125.
“Just wide open on the right wing,” Thompson said. “I knew one was going to fall eventually.”
After De’Aaron Fox missed a jumper, Curry made two free throws with 14.8 seconds remaining. Buddy Hield’s desperation 3-point try also missed, and Curry added two more free throws to close out Golden State’s second win over Sacramento this year.
“They just got us with their experience at the end,” Kings coach Dave Joerger said. “We struggled to finish some shots once a lot of their switching happened. They made some plays but we made some mistakes and they made us pay.”
Draymond Green had 14 rebounds and 10 assists for the Warriors.
Hield scored 27 points for the Kings. Fox had 25 points, nine assists and six rebounds. Willie Cauley-Stein finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds.
The wild ending was in stark contrast to the first half when Golden State controlled the pace and the flow while leading by 16.
The Warriors came out much crisper and sharper offensively than they had been in their 113-93 loss to the Raptors two nights earlier.
Curry, Durant and Thompson combined for 51 point and nine 3s, and Golden State had a 13-2 run late in the second quarter to go up 76-64.
Warriors: Andre Iguodala (sore right hip) was held out for a third consecutive game, although Kerr is hopeful that Iguodala will play against Memphis on Monday. … Shaun Livingston did not play after suffering a pelvic contusion in the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s loss to Toronto.
Kings: Marvin Bagley III left in the first half with a left knee bone bruise and he’s expected to miss 10 to 14 days.
Golden State is 4-1 this season and 33-3 overall when the three each score 20 points or more.
“We’ve been to two straight Finals together so we know how to make plays on the highest stage,” Thompson said. “A game in December I don’t think is going to faze us. Just play under control and that’s what we did in the last three minutes.”
HIELD IN AWE
The Kings have made big strides this season but their inexperience showed late in the game. Hield, who was three points shy of his career high, was in awe of Golden State’s finish.
“In the last four minutes all you saw was Durant and his greatness,” Hield said. “No wonder why they are the world champion. It’s just a great team.”
Warriors: Host Memphis on Monday night.
Kings: Play at Dallas on Sunday night.
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