San Francisco – The Warriors were without Draymond Green and Gary Payton II for tonight’s matchup. No worries, Stephen Curry scored 36 points and Kevon Looney grabbed 20 rebounds to dominate the Sacramento Kings for a 114-97 victory.
“The defense has been good all series,” said Warriors head coach Steve Kerr. “It’s just that in the first two games, we didn’t rebound, so we didn’t complete the possessions and we turned it over so they scored a ton in transition.
Tonight was about taking care of the glass and taking care of the ball, and our half court defense was really good. Our guys were playing with a lot of energy, and eventually, that’s going to lead to offense, just getting out in transition. And I thought we finally broke through offensively in the second half. But the game went the way it did because we took care of the ball.”
Looney handed out a playoff-high nine assists and grabbed a game-high 20 rebounds, his second-career playoff game with 20-or-more rebounds (22, 5/13/22 vs. MEM). He became the fourth player in NBA history to record nine assists and nine offensive rebounds in the same postseason game (Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley and Nikola Jokic). Looney is the only player to accomplish the feat in fewer than 38 minutes of play.
Nine of Looney’s 20 boards came on the offensive end, most in a playoff game since Looney had 11 on 5/13/22 vs. MEM. The Warriors scored 13 points off of Looney’s nine offensive rebounds; during the regular season Golden State scored 351 points off of Looney’s league-leading 247 offensive rebounds.
“We knew what we had to do to win the game,” Looney said. “We had the right game plan for the first two games. We kept falling up short. We didn’t execute it how we wanted to, and we was all locked in and watched a lot of film and just the mood around the whole team that we was locked in and our focus grows rolled even more.”
Golden State is right back in this series, down 0-2 many had counted them out. But the confidence of the Warriors never wavered, Curry finished with 36 points and 6 rebounds. He went 6-for-12 from the arc and had 18 points at the half. Curry (3,664 playoff career points) led all scorers with 36 points.
He passed Scottie Pippen (3,642) and Dirk Nowitzki (3,663) for sole possession of 16th place on the NBA Playoffs all-time points scored list. Tonight marked his 38th career playoff game with six-or-more made threes, the most in NBA history, his teammate Klay Thompson is second with 21 postseason games with six-or-more threes.
“I mean, pretty bluntly, if we lost this game it’s pretty much over,” Curry said. “You’ve got to understand the moment and we gave ourselves life. Biggest thing is we’ve been in the situation where momentum doesn’t necessarily carry over from game-to-game unless you execute at the same level, so it’s just one game. But it was a big game for sure.”
Andrew Wiggins played his best game since returning to action, he scored 20 points and grabbed 7 rebounds. Golden State improved their defensive rebounding compared to Game 1 & 2. Tonight they led the entire game and got up by as much as 18 points. The Warriors played their best game in this series and will look to even it up on Sunday for Game 4.
“I feel like with Draymond out, GP out, everyone had to fill those shoes together and rebound the ball,” said Wiggins. “I feel like that’s what’s going to take us over the top is rebounding and I feel like every game, you know, I’m just getting back to myself rebounding-wise. Hopefully I can keep it going and going up.”
Wiggins scored 20 points, his second consecutive game with 20-or-more points (22 in Game 2 at Sacramento). Moses Moody scored a playoff-career high 13 points off the bench (prev. 10, twice). Donte DiVincenzo dished out a playoff-career high eight assists (prev. four, three times).
“I think they were great tonight, just setting the tone of being physical,” Looney explained. Donte was four or five steals, he was everywhere, flying in, offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds, Moses was great, his physicality, hit a couple threes, finishing at the rim and they all provided a spark. JaMychal was great and rebounding and setting the tone physically and that’s what we’ve kind of been missing.
Steve usually gives everybody a shot in the playoffs, and I think everybody stepped up and we need it continue to step up to win this series.”
The Warriors held the Kings to 38-percent shooting from the field; during the regular season the Warriors were 6-1 when holding opponents under 40 percent field goal shooting. Golden State attempted 18 3-pointers in the first quarter and 27 in the first half tonight, both one attempt shy of their franchise playoff record of 19, Q4 and 28 in the H2 on 4/15/23 at SAC.
The Warriors improved to 25-9 in postseason games following a loss dating back to 2015. And they improved 15-10 in playoff Game 3s dating back to 2015 and 38-33 all-time in the third game of a playoff series. The Warriors held the Kings to 38-percent shooting from the field; during the regular season Golden State was 6-1 when holding opponents under 40 percent field goal shooting.
Up Next: Golden State hosts Sacramento on Sunday, April 23 at 12:30 p.m. PDT in Game 4 of their First Round series.
Photo by Warriors/Twitter
Kerr and Mike Brown’s press conference
ON PLAYING TONIGHT WITHOUT DRAYMOND GREEN:
“Just the way our guys have approached the last two days. Lock in on the game plan. I think we have a lot of guys out there who are excited to get out there and play. We are looking at this like an opportunity, not something that is lost, but something to be gained. Let’s go win the game.”
ON MISSING GREEN’S EMOTIONAL PRESENCE IN THE LINEUP:
“I think our crowd will help cover that. We’ll be fine.”
ON THE STATUS OF ANDREW WIGGINS, GARY PAYTON II, AND JORDAN POOLE:
“Wiggins (right shoulder soreness) and Poole (left ankle sprain) are definitely playing. Gary (general illness) is still questionable.”
ON THE STATUS OF JORDAN POOLE:
“He’s doing much better now. Game 2 it just didn’t really go his way. He looked like he was moving pretty well, but clearly didn’t have his rhythm and sometimes that can happen when you are dealing with an injury. It’s tough to get comfortable. I didn’t think he was comfortable in Game 2. He should be much better tonight.”
ON IF HE WILL REVEAL WHO WILL START IN PLACE OF DRAYMOND GREEN:
ON WHERE DRAYMOND GREEN WILL WATCH TONIGHT’S GAME:
“He’ll be at home.”
ON THE PRESSURE OF BEING DOWN 0-2 IN THE SERIES:
“It’s new territory for us. I think our guys look at it as a challenge and as an opportunity. They’ve accomplished so much over the years. The fact that we haven’t been down 2-0, to be honest, is in and of itself a pretty amazing accomplishment in a decade of playoff runs to never be down 2-0. We’ve been down 3-1 before. Our guys have been through everything. It’s a great challenge for us and I think we are excited for the challenge.”
ON MIKE BROWN BEING NAMED COACH OF THE YEAR:
“Not surprising. I think every coach in the league felt the same way. Mike has done a brilliant job and they’ve done a great job putting together their roster over the last couple of years. Mike and his staff have just hit a home run this year. Well deserved.”
ON FOCUSING ON GAME 3 RATHER THAN THE PLAYOFFS IN GENERAL AND THE OUTCOME:
“Players don’t really think about that stuff and I don’t either, to be honest with you. We have a game to win. Our immediate focus is always on the next day. We have to live that way during the regular season. You have 82 games. You get all kinds of adversity that comes your way and you get sort of conditioned and as a coach, you try and help condition your players to focus on just the next day. And that’s it. We leave all that other speculation to everybody else. You, in particular, Larry.”
KINGS HEAD COACH MIKE BROWN
ON THE MINDSET BEING UP 2-0:
“You know I mean you talk about it of course. If we’re overconfident we’re going to get our behinds handed to us because these guys are the champions. They’re multiple-time champions. They faced all types of adversity and situations. We just got to go out and play the game the best we can for 48 minutes and hope to get a win on their floor.”
ON IF HIS TIME WITH THE WARRIORS PUTS HIM AT AN ADVANTAGE:
“You know people have been saying that and man I don’t think it does. They know everything about us. They have a really great advanced scout Scott, he’s one of the best in the league, he’s been with them forever. The staff is championship level, obviously coaching staff, their players are championship level players, they’re smart as all get up. They know my tendencies too. So I know they’re trying to put a game plan together to beat us and we are to beat them. It’s about can we go out there and execute for 48 minutes? Can they get out there and execute for 48 minutes? I think it’s more that than anything else. But I’ve told our guys before the playoffs even began and we didn’t know who we were playing I’ve been telling our guys all year come playoff time everybody knows everything about their opponent. So you have to go out there and you got to execute, get closer to 48 minutes than your opponent does, and that’s going to give you a chance if you do do that.”
ON WHAT HE HAS SEEN FROM DAVION MITCHELL GUARDING STEPHEN CURRY:
“It’s tough because they do a good job of moving Steph around and trying to put him on guys that aren’t going to be involved in a lot of pick-and-rolls, and coming off a lot of screens, and stuff like that. So defensively the effort that he has to give all the time isn’t quite the same as when somebody’s got to guard him and then that same somebody has to score and make plays for their team. So as much as we can we’re going to put (De’Aaron) Fox on somebody else, give Davion an opportunity to guard him, junk up the game as best we can to try to make him think and work. None of it really quote/unquote works, you just hope that he has to try a little bit harder to make shots when you throw different things at him and different people. You know for a young fella Davion is doing about a good a job as you can ask him or anyone to do. Crazy part about it is Steph still had 28 I think in the last game. You don’t stop Hall of Famers like Steph you just hope you can make him work a little bit and think a little bit by changing things up.”