The much-talked about, closely-watched, and drama-filled first-round series between California neighbours Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors is going to go seven games.
Before anything else, let’s quickly summarize how the series has gone: the Kings fed off the raucous Sacramento crowd and captured the first two home games to go up 2-0. The Warriors then flexed their championship experience by winning three in a row, including one on the road, to take the series lead, 3-2, and have a chance to end it in San Francisco for Game 6.
The Kings then said “Nah.” Most were expecting a tired team, but they were patient, defended well, and made timely plays. They won, 118-99, to even it up at 3-3 and set a stage for a Game 7.
Sactown’s defense held the Splash Brothers – Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson – to a combined 17-for-41 shooting (7/21 from three). While it wasn’t particularly ugly, it proved to be enough to contain the monster. Thompson and Curry finished as -16 and -28, respectively.
Further, the Dubs’ third and fourth scorers, Jordan Poole (7 pts, 2/11 FGs) and Andrew Wiggins (13 pts, 5/13 FGs), were quiet as well, especially the former.
As it was all season long, it’s unflappable All-Star De’Aaron Fox that led Sacramento’s charge. The 25-year-old was coming off a rough Game 5 that saw him go just 9-for-25 from the field, but because he has a short memory, he kept blasting on Saturday. He finished with a double-double of 26 points and 11 assists on 10-for-18 shooting, with his steady energy also being a key.
Adding to the list of positives is the secondary weapons also showing up nicely – Keegan Murray, who was on the floor for a whopping 45 minutes, was one of them. Though the rookie starter was only 5-for-17, he made up for it by grabbing a team-high 12 rebounds, five of which were on the offensive end. It was a good step up, given how much they’ve been pounded by the Warriors in the series. Besides, his 15 points and four threes were also nice.
The second unit didn’t exactly shine as a whole, but they had two really solid contributors for the game, and those alone became a major lift. Sparkplug Malik Monk came off the bench by chipping in a full line of 28 points, seven rebounds, four assists, one steal, and two blocks – much like Fox, he’s an absolute energizer whenever he’s on the court.
Lyles, meanwhile, tallied 12 points, nine rebounds, and a pair of steals – a good jump considering he was just averaging 3.0 points and 4.5 in the three prior games. It also helped fill a void as their other All-Star, Domantas Sabonis, was quiet on offense and only posted seven points on 3-for-15 shooting.
Lastly, there was the huge amount of threes. The Kings kept bombing from downtown, and eventually went 17-for-45, the most treys they made in single game in this series. They were +7 in that department as the Warriors were 10-for-32.
A good chance in Game 7
The Kings have a good chance in Game 7 as it will be on their home turf, but you can bet no one’s really favouring anyone, not after the disappointing Game 5 and Game 6 by the home team.
Let’s just hope for a great finale, one that isn’t a blowout and would cap this awesome series.