SAN FRANCISCO – With the clock running out Harrison Barnes hit the last shot. He hit a three-pointer from the left wing but it bounced off the back the rim at the buzzer. The crowd erupted as the Golden State Warriors survived the 126-125 win over the Sacramento Kings.
Five players scored in double figures for the Warriors, Stephen Curry led with 32 points who shot 11-for-22 from the field including five made three-pointers. He also finished with four assists and five rebounds for Golden State.
De’Aaron Fox scored 21 of his game-high 38 points in the first half, to go along with nine rebounds and five assists for the Kings. Fox’s fourth made a three-pointer with 28.7 seconds left in the game that pulled Sacramento within one point. Fox shot 14-for-31 from the field.
On the next Warriors’ possession, Curry missed a 16-foot jumper before King’s rookie Keegan Murray rebounded the basketball. With Fox in control for Sacramento, Curry and Draymond Green quickly double-teamed him before he kicked it out to Barnes for the potential game-winning shot that fell short.
“Yeah, we wanted to get the ball out of Fox’s hands and try to get back to wherever the shooter was going to be and in that case it, was Harrison, and got a good look,” said Warriors head coach Steve Kerr. “It reminded me of the Wiggs [Andrew Wiggins] look in Game 1.”
Murray who struggled for the first three games of the series, scored 23 points on 9-for-13 shooting, drilling five three-pointers and grabbed 7 rebounds.
“I’ve just tried to be more aggressive throughout the playoffs and I knew eventually I’d catch my stride on the offensive end,” Murray said. “So it’s just a matter of time and I came in confident. Just tried to figure out what they are doing against me and just try to figure out how I can get open looks.”
Curry gave the Kings a chance to win the game late after he called a timeout, which Golden State were out of, assessing a technical foul with the Warriors clinging to a 125-121 lead with 42.4 seconds left.
“We took the challenge and when the challenge was unsuccessful, as we were exiting the huddle, it’s on me,” explained Kerr. I’ve got to remind the guys, we’re out of time-outs and I didn’t say that, and so Steph wasn’t aware. That’s on me for not making that clear.”
Malik Monk knocked down the technical free throw. He finished with 16 points off the bench for Sacramento.
“What a game,” Sacramento’s head coach Mike Brown said. “If I was a fan, shoot, what a game to watch. You know, I thought our guys came out with a purpose tonight and gave ourselves a chance to win and that’s all you can ask for come playoff time.
We made some timely mistakes, especially in the fourth quarter. This is where our playoff inexperience comes into play because you can’t rest out there, or you can’t think that you can play something a certain way and the champions are not going to make you pay the price.”
Klay Thompson calmly knocked down a three-pointer to beat the third-quarter buzzer giving the Warriors a 102-92 lead. Thompson finished 26 points on 9-for-15 shooting.
After dropping the first two games of the series to the Kings at Golden 1 Center, Golden State evened the series up at two games apiece after winning protecting home court. Game 5 is Wednesday night in California’s Capital City.
No question the Warriors struggle on the road but this will be a must win if they want to advance in the playoffs.
“As good as this [the win] feels, it’s got to be quickly forgotten about,” said Thompson.
The Warriors outscored Sacramento 37-21 in the third quarter. It was the most points that Golden State has scored in any quarter this series.
Andrew Wiggins poured in 18 points and eight rebounds. Kevon Looney finished with eight points, six assists and 14 rebounds following his 20-rebound effort in Game 3. Following his one game suspension Green came off the bench in Game 4.
Green’s impact was felt immediately when he entered the game, he received a thunderous ovation from the sellout crowd in the first quarter, scoring six of his 12 points in the first half. Green added a team-high seven assists and 10 rebounds for the Warriors, who made 45 shots on 31 assists.
After Golden State went small-ball in Game 3 with Jordan Poole (who scored 22 points tonight) in the starting lineup, Green didn’t want to rock the boat in Game 4.
“When I watch basketball, I’m studying and I studied the game, and I saw what was working, you know,” Green said. “And we won. So I’m a firm believer in if something isn’t broke, you don’t fix it. Our offense was rolling and we played good defensively, really good defensively.”
Domantas Sabonis added 14 points, seven rebounds and eight assists for the Kings, who shot 47-percent from the field as a team.
“Obviously it’s not the outcome we wanted,” said Sabonis. “But we are going home, and we have to take care of business there. It’s a long series.”
Sacramento scored 18 points off 12 turnovers by Golden State after committing just 10 of its own. With the win, the Warriors improved to 75-3 since Kerr became coach when leading a playoff game by 10 or more at any point in the fourth quarter.
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