The Sacramento Kings have exacted some revenge on the Golden State Warriors, producing a huge comeback victory that sees them advance in the NBA's inaugural In-Season Tournament.
After the Minnesota Timberwolves defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder earlier in the day, the task was simple for the Warriors -- beat the Kings by 12 to finish atop West Group C. For a large part of Tuesday night, the visitors appeared on track to achieve that task.
The Golden State Warriors have crumbled to the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center, falling 124-123 after a disastrous final minute.
When Andrew Wiggins nailed another three to give him 18 points, the Warriors led 72-48 in a dominant first-half. Even if the Kings ended the second-quarter on a 7-0 run, it didn't take away from what was a very positive stint for Golden State -- arguably their best for the season. Wiggins had 18, Klay Thompson 17 and Stephen Curry 16 points, five rebounds and eight assists.
From there, the outing turned into a stop-start affair marred by the referees whistles. Both teams racked up fouls and got to the free-throw line mercilessly in a game that felt like it went for an eternity.
When the teams were allowed to play, the Warriors started to turn the ball over at a rate they've always been capable of. The Kings started doubling Stephen Curry and without Chris Paul, who was ruled out with leg soreness after the first-quarter, Golden State didn't possess the playmakers capable of taking advantage.
Sacramento stormed back to take the lead, only for the Warriors to steady thanks to 11 fourth-quarter points from Moses Moody. Steve Kerr bizarrely took him out in the final minutes, but Golden State still had hold of the game down the stretch.
Their chances of advancing to the In-Season Tournament quarter-finals were over, yet the win looked in their keeping when up four, in possession of the ball, and with less than 50 seconds left. Instead, Curry threw a careless pass that was picked off by Malik Monk, before he hit the three to cut the Warrior lead to one.
Not to be outdone by Curry, fellow veterans Thompson and the returning Draymond Green miscommunicated for another careless turnover. Monk made them pay again on the other end, hitting a tough shot over Wiggins to give Sacramento the lead. With Kerr having mismanaged his timeouts, Golden State had seven seconds to go to the other end and were ultimately left with a Curry heave that fell short.
An unmitigated disaster. Few fans will care about the In-Season Tournament -- just to lose that game in that manner was catastrophic. For the second time this season they wasted a very good Wiggins game, with the Canadian leading the Warriors with 29 points and 10 rebounds on 11-18 shooting.
Curry had 29 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, though his late turnover was simply unforgivable. Thompson had 20 points and nine rebounds, but his decision-making in the second-half left a bit to be desired.
Golden State are now left to count the cost of another loss, their tenth of the season. Injuries to Paul and Gary Payton II proved crucial, and could further their issues going forward. They'll now return home to face the similarly-embattled LA Clippers on Thursday night.