Golden State Warriors: Diabolical late decision leaves fans bemused and frustrated

Oklahoma City Thunder v Golden State Warriors
Oklahoma City Thunder v Golden State Warriors / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

There's a simple principle for practically every coach in every team sport around the world -- reward good performance. Yet when the Golden State Warriors faced a brutal comeback from the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night, that philosophy seemingly went out the door for head coach Steve Kerr.

As the Kings rallied from a 24-point deficit in the second-quarter to take the lead in the final period, it was third-year wing Moses Moody who provided the resistance. The 21-year-old had 11 points in the fourth-quarter, making the most of increased opportunity after Chris Paul and Gary Payton II had left the game through injury.

Many were left bemused and frustrated by Steve Kerr's decision to remove Moses Moody from the Golden State Warriors lineup in the final minutes of Tuesday's game.

Moody's shooting proved pivotal as Sacramento subdued superstar Stephen Curry with contstant double-teams. The former lottery pick took advantage of that by drilling a wide-open left corner three after Curry was trapped, but he was from just a catch-and-shoot threat in the final period.

He drove baseline for a vicious two-hand slam after a reckless closeout from Malik Monk, made a tough step-back three over Kings' 6'9" forward Sasha Vezenkov, then made another left wing three on the following possession.

It was perhaps the best two or three-minute period of Moody's career -- he was scorching hot. But regardless, Kerr chose to sub him out less than 30 seconds after he made his last three, not to be seen again over the final four minutes.

It was a diabolical decision with the Kings, led by Malik Monk, completing their sensational comeback to claim a 124-123 victory. Warrior fans and analysts were left bemused in the aftermath, taking to social media to vent their frustration.

Asked about his decision postgame, Kerr pointed for the need to bring back Andrew Wiggins who finished with an impressive 29 points and 10 rebounds while being the primary defender on Sacramento star De'Aaron Fox.

Bringing back Wiggins was the right call, but Moody could have easily been in the lineup rather than Kevon Looney. The starting big man did another stellar job on Domantas Sabonis, limiting him to just nine points on 2-7 shooting. However, given how Sabonis had played, going smaller and daring the Kings to run their offense through him (rather than Fox or Monk) was a risk worth taking for Golden State, particularly when you'd still have Draymond Green, a former Defensive Player of the Year, guarding him.

Kerr was full of praise for Moody, offering little solace and perhaps adding even more confusion to the whole scenario. Almost as bizarre as the late-game decision, Kerr confirmed Moody was out of the rotation at the start of the game, only earning a reprieve due to Paul's early injury.

Speaking in the postgame broadcast, NBC Sports Bay Area's Dalton Johnson summed up the situation, stating that "Moody deserves better" and that something "has to give eventually".

""Moses Moody deserves better. I don't know how else to say it when somebody does what Moses Moody has done, when he's always praised for staying ready, for being such a pro's pro...I think the Moody situation in general has been very interesting to watch this entire season for how much respect consistently gives Moses Moody that he deserves, but something it feels like has to give eventually," Johnson said."

Would the Warriors have won the game with Moody on the floor? That's almost irrelevant. What matters is that the coach rewards who's performing well. How Moody seemingly remains confident in his own game is a mystery based on how he's being treated.

This is just a new chapter in the entire Moody-Kerr dynamic. Less than two weeks ago fans were left equally frustrated when the 6'6" wing was left out of the rotation in the first-quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder, only to explode for 10 points and three rebounds in the second once given an opportunity.

Honestly, who would blame Moody if he were to request a trade? It would be odd for a bench player to do such a thing in just his third year, but that would simply be in line with how odd the whole situation is.