3 keys to victory for Golden State Warriors ahead of play-in clash vs. Kings

Sacramento Kings v Golden State Warriors
Sacramento Kings v Golden State Warriors / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages
1 of 3

After another rollercoaster of a season for a lot of the same reasons, the Golden State Warriors find themselves in the NBA Play-In Tournament -- this time as the tenth-seed, needing two wins to secure the final spot in the Western Conference bracket.

For the second year in a row, the Warriors' season boils down to an elimination game in Sacramento, as Golden State will fight to keep their playoff hopes alive against the ninth-seeded Kings.

The Golden State Warriors will enter Sacramento as favorites on Tuesday night, but they'll need to focus on a number of key factors to earn victory

With the Kings posing a threat the Warriors have to know all too well over the past two seasons, the visitors will need to be at their best to stave off elimination. Let's have a look at three keys to Golden State moving on to face the loser of the New Orleans Pelicans-Los Angeles Lakers matchup on Thursday.

1. Force the Kings to play in the half court

When these two offensive powerhouses matchup, fans can usually expect 48 minutes of fireworks. The Warriors and Kings run similar offensive schemes, probing at defenses with a harmonious blend of player and ball movement. Kings' head coach Mike Brown spent six seasons as an assistant with the Warriors, so it's no wonder he's employed a similar brand of basketball as Sacramento's head man in charge.

Spurred by the De'Aaron Fox-Domantas Sabonis two-man game, the Kings run a potent half-court offense — but like the Warriors, they're most dangerous in transition. Per Cleaning The Glass, Sacramento ranked fifth in the league in transition frequency, and fourth in points off of live rebounds, at 126.7 per 100 possessions. With Fox setting the pace, Sacramento looks to push the tempo after misses and makes, keeping defenses on their toes. If they're consistently able to run the break the Kings can cause nightmares for the opposition, and the Warriors must do all they can to limit Sacramento's transition opportunities.

Part of being one of the most prolific three-point shooting teams in the NBA means naturally giving up a ton of long rebounds, and against a high-octane unit like the Kings, those long rebounds can easily translate into easy buckets at the other end. Those are the types of sequences that easily deflate morale, and kill any sort of momentum.

The Kings will be without Sixth Man of the Year candidate Malik Monk (sprained MCL) and sharpshooter Kevin Huerter (dislocated shoulder), both of whom they will sorely miss in this matchup. With neither Monk nor Huerter in the fold, Sacramento's outside shooting suffers a major blow, and the Warriors can capitalize on that lack of shot creation by slowing the game down, forcing the Kings into well-contested shots in the half-court.