The Golden State Warriors poured in 126 points in Game 4 of their first-round series, and they needed every single one as they held off the Sacramento Kings by one-point at Chase Center on Sunday afternoon.
It was clearly the Warriors’ best offensive display of the series, and it came without the barrage of threes that’s often defined explosive bursts across the last decade. Instead, they finally exposed a major flaw in the Kings’ personnel.
The Golden State Warriors made attacking the paint a clear focus against a weak Sacramento Kings’ interior in Game 4 on Sunday.
Fans have been clamoring for Golden State to attack the basket a lot more than what was seen over the first few games. While Domantas Sabonis is a gifted offensive player and rebounder, he’s hardly recognized as an interior defender having never averaged anything more than half a block per game.
In some ways the Warriors bailed out the Kings over the first two games in Sacramento — They averaged 45 three-point attempts, even more than their league-leading average during the regular season. On Sunday in the critical Game 4, Golden State knocked down 14 of their 34 attempts from deep.
Instead of dialing it up from beyond the arc, the Warriors took 49 shots from within 14 feet, up from an average of 36 during their two losses so far in this series. Their remaining 36 shots came from beyond 15 feet, down from an average of 50.5 in Sacramento.
The result? Golden State had an offensive rating of 121.1 in Game 4 in comparison to 109.6 during the two losses. Their 22 made free-throws was also more than any of the previous three games. The shot selection can’t have simply been a coincidence, but we’ll find out more once the Warriors return to Sacramento for Game 5.
Sabonis has been the closest defender for 14.8 shot attempts per game over this series, down from 18.4 during the regular season. While that’s understandable given neither Kevon Looney or Draymond Green are major scoring threats, attacking Sabonis more often should be a concerted tactic over the remaining games.
The Warrior offense is in good shape regardless, and their primary objective going forward would be restricting the influence of De’Aaron Fox. Still, perhaps they believe they can simply outscore the Kings based on the ease in which they scored for the majority of Game 4.