SACRAMENTO KINGS

Barnes scores career-high as Kings outlast Warriors in thriller

Jan 25, 2024, 10:11 PM | Updated: Jan 29, 2024, 10:30 am

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 25: Harrison Barnes #40 of the Sacramento Kings shoots over Kev...

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The Sacramento Kings have been little brother to the Golden State Warriors for quite some time now.

In April of last season, the Warriors defeated the Kings in a hard-fought, seven-game NBA Playoff series. Over three regular-season matchups this season, Golden State had taken two games from Sacramento.

If the Kings wanted to pour water on the “little brother” notion, they had to show up where it matters most–Chase Center.

Entering play on Thursday night, Sacramento had lost its last seven regular season games in San Francisco, with their most recent win coming on February 25, 2020. Finally, in front of a national TV audience on TNT, the Kings turned the page.

In what was another marathon of a matchup, Sacramento outlasted the Warriors by a final of 134-133 behind a career performance from veteran forward Harrison Barnes and a chaotic ending that went the Kings’ way.

These two Northern California foes delivered another classic, but this time, it was Sacramento (25-18) escaping with the narrow win on Golden State’s home floor.

Kings vs. Warriors Takeaways

Sprinting (or Shooting) Out of The Gates

Entering play on Thursday night, the Kings (13th) and Warriors (12th) both sat in the upper half of the NBA’s three-point shooting rankings.

It didn’t take long for these teams to find a rhythm from deep, as this one turned into a shootout early.

Sacramento went 13-for-24 (54%) from three-point range during the first half, while Golden State knocked down 12 of their first 20 looks (60%) from downtown, as Stephen Curry led the way for the Warriors with 18 points over the first 24 minutes of action.

One game removed from a 32-point outing against the Atlanta Hawks on Monday, Harrison Barnes picked up right where he left off in San Francisco as the forward scored 20 points (four-of-seven from deep) over 20 first-half minutes.

Barnes, who racked up 19 points during the first half against the Hawks, was Sacramento’s go-to scorer early, with De’Aaron Fox (16 points) also getting involved after scoring a season-low 12 points against Atlanta.

Once the dust settled, the Kings took a 75-72 lead into the break–just two points shy of tying their season-high for points scored in a single half. While the offense was coming in bunches, one of these teams would have to slow the other down to come away with a win.

Another Classic (and Chaotic) Ending

Two of the three matchups between the Kings and Warriors this season have ended in one-point finishes.

Klay Thompson’s game-winner ripped Sacramento’s heart out on November 1st as Golden State stole a 102-101 win. Just three weeks later, Malik Monk’s wild go-ahead bucket with seconds left gave the Kings a 124-123 win at Golden 1 Center on November 29th.

Thursday delivered the latest chapter in a growing Kings vs. Warriors rivalry, but this time, it was Sacramento’s turn to deliver a crushing blow at Chase Center.

The Kings flirted with running away late, but Golden State answered each run as Stephen Curry (33 points) and Jonathan Kuminga (31 points) knocked down big shots late. Kuminga’s go-ahead bucket with 47 seconds remaining put the Warriors ahead 133-32, putting Sacramento in a tough spot in front of a sold-out crowd in San Francisco.

Instead of breaking, the Kings bent as Kevin Huerter found Domantas Sabonis in the key for the go-ahead–and what turned out to be the game-sealing–score.

Sacramento picked up a crucial stop on the defensive and forced Golden State to foul with 15 seconds on the clock. In a game that had seen the Kings shoot 16-of-17 (94%) from the free-throw line to that point, Huerter stepped to the line for a chance to push the lead to three.

In a stunning turn of events, Huerter missed both free-throws and the Warriors immediately pushed the ball up the floor, only needing two points to win the game.

Unlike earlier in the season on Thompson’s game-winner or even in the preseason when Curry torpedoed the Kings with a game-sealing triple, there would be no late-game magic on Thursday for the Dubs.

Sacramento threw a double-team at Curry during the game’s closing seconds, and the future Hall of Fame guard looked out of character as he lost his handle and let the ball roll towards’ the Kings’ end of the floor as time expired.

Even with the late missed free throws, Sacramento did enough to claim a win over the Warriors on their home floor and split the regular season series at two games apiece.

Black Falcon Soars

Harrison Barnes has been on the receiving end of criticism this year, but the forward has looked like a different player over the past two games.

One game removed from a 32-point effort on Monday against Atlanta, Barnes lit up the Warriors for a career-high 39 points on 14-of-24 shooting from the field and seven-of-12 from beyond the arc over 40 minutes.

Barnes has scored 71 points over the past two games–the most points scored over a two-game span during his 11-year career.

The 31-year-old got it done in various ways on Thursday, scoring in the post and knocking down both contested and uncontested looks from three-point land as Golden State had no answer for Barnes.

It was a balanced effort for ‘The Black Falcon,” as Barnes scored 20 points in the first half and 19 in the second to help close out the win.

As the trade rumors swirl around Barnes, he has looked unfazed over the past two games.

Barnes entered play on Monday having attempted 10+ field goal attempts in one of his past 14 games. Over the past two contests? 20+ field goal attempts on 70 percent shooting from the field and 55 percent shooting from three-point range.

It’s possible that head coach Mike Brown has tweaked his play calling to give Barnes more looks on the offensive end, and it’s worked out very well so far.

Sure, it’s been two games, and there is still a bevy of concerns surrounding whether or not Barnes is the best choice available to maximize Sacramento’s window, but nights like Monday and Thursday show what the forward can do when he’s fully locked in.

Fox Bounces Back

De’Aaron Fox scored just 12 points during Monday’s win over Atlanta–the least scored in a game that the guard played 30+ minutes in nearly two years.

The All-Star guard got back on track during the win in San Francisco, scoring 29 points on nine-of-16 shooting from the field and three-of-seven from downtown to go along with five assists and one steal over 36 minutes.

Fox’s back-to-back triples with four minutes to go were crucial in putting Sacramento in a position to win, but his defense on Curry during the final possession of the game sealed the victory as the 26-year-old continues to grow into a two-way threat.

Notes

  • Entering play on Thursday, Davion Mitchell had made three triples over his past 19 appearances. The third-year guard matched that output by knocking down all three of his three-point field goal attempts during the first half alone. Mitchell finished the game with 10 points and four assists over 15 minutes.
  • Domantas Sabonis extended his double-double streak to 26 games, surpassing Oscar Robertson’s 25-game streak (1/12-2/26/64) for the third-longest such streak in franchise history: 18 PTS | 8 REB | 13 AST | 8/11 FG | 35 MIN
  • Kevin Huerter racked up his second double-double during the win: 12 PTS | 10 REB | 3 STL
  • Sacramento improved to 20-6 when shooting 35% or better from three-point range this season.

When is the next Sacramento Kings game?

Sacramento’s seven-game road trip will continue on Saturday when the Kings meet Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Arena.

On November 19th, Domantas Sabonis (32 points) and De’Aaron Fox (30 points) led Sacramento to a 129-113 win over the Mavs as six Kings players finished in double figures.

Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Mavericks coverage, beginning at 4:30 PM PST on Game Night before a 6:00 PM PST tip-off from Dallas.

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Upcoming Schedule

  • Saturday, January 27th – Sacramento Kings @ Dallas Mavericks – 6:00 PM PST
  • Monday, January 29th – Sacramento Kings @ Memphis Grizzlies – 5:00 PM PST
  • Wednesday, January 31st – Sacramento Kings @ Miami Heat – 4:30 PM PST
  • Friday, February 2nd – Sacramento Kings @ Indiana Pacers – 4:30 PM PST
  • Saturday, February 3rd – Sacramento Kings @ Chicago Bulls – 5:00 PM PST

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