While no one needed a reminder of Stephen Curry’s potency, the two-time MVP nonetheless provided it as the Golden State Warriors maintained their unbeaten preseason record with victory over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.
After a relatively quiet night, Curry exploded for 16 points in the final five minutes including the go-ahead three-pointer with five seconds remaining. In an ultra-competitive matchup for a preseason outing, the Warriors battled back from an 18-point third-quarter deficit that remained at seven with less than two minutes to play.
Stephen Curry’s brilliance was again on display, helping the Golden State Warriors to a 116-115 victory over the Sacramento Kings.
Steve Kerr promised the final two preseason games would be closer to proper dress rehearsals for the Warriors, and that’s exactly what it was minus a pair of key frontcourt players against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.
Kerr went just 10 deep in the rotation, including 30+ minutes for the likes of Curry, Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins. Mike Brown too used it as a meaningful warmup, with both teams battling down the stretch before Curry took over like only he can.
An ill Kevon Looney joined Draymond Green on the sidelines, leaving Jonathan Kuminga and Trayce Jackson-Davis in the Warrior starting lineup. That also signalled Chris Paul’s move to the bench for the first time, though it wasn’t overly effective as the Kings jumped out to a 14-7 start.
Seven turnovers and just six three-point attempts characterized a rough first period for the Warriors offensively, but the Kings weren’t much better as they held a one-point lead despite shooting 36% from the floor and 25% from three-point range.
The Warriors offense continued to struggle in the second, while Davion Mitchell heated up on the other end with 14 points on 5-5 shooting. Curry and Thompson combined for just eight points on 3-12 shooting in the first-half, limiting Golden State to 49 points as the Kings led by seven.
The hosts cut the deficit to three nearly seven minutes into the third, but a 18-3 run all of a sudden ballooned out the Kings lead in what appeared like the decisive move of the game. The crowd found life in the fourth when a pair of Jackson-Davis baseline dunks cut the lead to six, before Curry found his rhythm to turn a pedestrian 14-point night into a 30-point one in the space of the final five minutes.
Jackson-Davis was impressive in his first start, keeping Domantas Sabonis relatively quiet and notching a double-double of his own with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Kuminga continued his early form with 18 points and six rebounds, Wiggins added an efficient 16 points on 10 shots, while Paul did a bit of everything with 13 points, six rebounds and nine assists in 29 minutes.
The Warriors did finish with 22 turnovers, yet Curry ensured they wouldn’t pay the ultimate price. Golden State shot over 50% from the field and over 50% from three-point range, while the Kings were limited to just 46.2% and 30% from deep.
Kerr now expects to rest his main core in the final preseason game against the San Antonio Spurs on Friday, with opening night against the Phoenix Suns less than a week away.