The Golden State Warriors lost to the Sacramento Kings by a final score of 105-98 on Wednesday. The defeat marked the third time in four contests this season that the playoff-bound Warriors have slipped up against the lottery-resigned Kings.
This time, Klay Thompson’s ice-cold shooting performance (1-of-13 from the field) and the inability to keep Isaiah Thomas from heat-checking his way to 17 second-half points doomed the Dubs.
At the risk of oversimplifying, this game really came down to one thing: three-point shooting. Sacramento improbably knocked in 39 percent of its 28 long-range attempts, while Golden State hit just 21 percent of its 24 tries. Really, though, it shouldn’t have mattered how poorly the Warriors shot the ball from beyond the arc against a team as wholly dysfunctional as the potentially-sorta-but-maybe-not-for-sure Seattle Kings.
The Dubs should have feasted on the lazy Kings in transition, outworked them on the offensive glass or even just committed a hard foul or two. These are the friggin’ Kings we’re talking about here. Coming into Wednesday’s tilt they had won just six times on the road all season. A light shove—perhaps even a hearty sneeze—should have been enough to get Keith Smart’s disorganized, disinterested bunch to roll over and die.
But for whatever reason, the Warriors let another one get away to the Kings, effectively erasing an emotional and encouraging win over the L.A. Lakers on Monday.
With the Houston Rockets losing to the Indiana Pacers, the Dubs also blew a chance to strengthen their grip on the No. 6 seed in the West to one-and-a-half games. So the negative effects of Wednesday’s disappointing loss actually did have some potentially further-reaching consequences.
Look, Golden State doesn’t have to worry about teams like the Kings in the postseason. But it does have to be concerned with the troublesome trend of letdown games cropping up at random.
Charles Barkley—king of hackneyed, reductive NBA analysis—likes to point out that jump-shooting teams can’t win championships, largely because games like the one that happened to the Warriors on Wednesday make it possible for them to fall to unlikely opponents.
Well, the Chuckster’s partially right: Jump-shooting teams are vulnerable. But they’re especially so when they refuse to simply leverage their superior talent and teamwork to stomp out inferior competition when their shots aren’t falling. The Warriors failed to take control of a game that, by all rights, they should have.
The result was a disheartening loss to an ultimately unworthy opponent.