Revisiting the four Kings Warriors regular season matchups

Apr 15, 2024, 5:49 PM

Keegan Murray #13 of the Sacramento Kings is guarded by Klay Thompson #11 of the Golden State Warri...

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 25: Keegan Murray #13 of the Sacramento Kings is guarded by Klay Thompson #11 of the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center on January 25, 2024 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

For the second consecutive season, the NBA postseason will feature a Kings-Warriors matchup. Last year, both teams were seeded above the play-in mark but now have the ninth and tenth-placed records in the Western Conference at the conclusion of the 2023-24 regular season.

While single-elimination basketball games can be chaotic and unpredictable, it’s worth revisiting their four regular season matchups. Funnily enough, three of their four matchups were decided by one point.

“We’re both familiar with each other,” De’Aaron Fox said after Monday’s practice. “There are no surprises.”

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The first three were completed by the end of November, while their final battle occurred on January 25th.

Sacramento and Golden State have each played roughly 40 games since then and made notable rotational changes. When watching the regular season games, you’ll notice varying lineups for both sides that make for a complicated evaluation.

Let’s dive into the first 2023-24 Kings Warriors regular season matchup.

Oct. 27: Kings vs. Warriors – Golden State won 122-114

The only game not decided by one point came in each team’s second regular season showing of 2023-24. Chris Paul was starting, while Brandin Podziemski didn’t see the floor. JaVale McGee was Sacramento’s backup center of choice, and Chris Duarte recorded 26 minutes — it wouldn’t be surprising if neither McGee or Durate saw the floor in Tuesday’s play-in.

Rookie Trayce Jackson-Davis, who started the final 11 games of the regular season (winning nine of those eleven), did not play despite being available. There’s apparent variance compared to what’s to be expected.

Fox led Sacramento with 39 points, four rebounds, four assists, and two steals, shooting 14/28 from the field, 5/9 from three, and 6/7 from the free-throw line. Twenty-two of his total came in the final frame, but it was not enough to secure a victory.

For the Warriors, Stephen Curry recorded a game-high 41 points, four assists, four rebounds, and two steals on 14/19 from the field, 7/10 from three, and 6/6 from the free-throw line. It’s hard to defeat Curry when he shoots 70 percent from three with 16 of his team’s 39 third-quarter points.

Despite attempting 15 more free throws (Kings: 20/29, Warriors: 12/14), the difference in three-point production hurt Sacramento. They made two fewer triples than Golden State on eight additional shots from range. Fox made five of his team’s 12, while Keegan Murray went just 3/11 from deep.

Since making the NBA Finals repeatedly in recent years, Golden State’s weakness has been turnovers, and that remained true this season. They finished with the eighth-most turnovers per game (14.3). In this particular Kings Warriors matchup, they turned the ball over 19 times, leading to 18 Sacramento points.

The issue was Golden State securing 26 points off 14 Kings’ turnovers. Sacramento will have to be more efficient at scoring in the break after opponent mishaps on Tuesday.

Nov. 1: Kings @ Warriors – Golden State won 102-101

This was the second matchup before either squad had played double-digit games in the regular season. The Kings were without star point guard De’Aaron Fox, with Davion Mitchell starting in his place, but still found ways to make it competitive.

Domantas Sabonis tallied 23 points, 11 rebounds (three offensive), and eight assists on 8/16 from the field and 7/12 from the free-throw line. Five missed free-throws, while the rest of his team went 11/11, dramatically stung in a one-point loss.

Six players scored in double digits on each side, with Kevon Looney being the lone starter not to reach that threshold. Once again, recent starter Trayce Jackson-Davis hardly saw the floor while Sacramento was still rolling with McGee at their backup center.

With each team converting 11 triples, their damage from range was comparable. However, it was the paint scoring where Golden State found an eight-point advantage en route to a one-point victory.

If you recall, Sabonis banked in a 21-footer to give Sacramento a one-point lead with 15.1 seconds remaining before Klay Thompson converted a game-winner over Davion Mitchell with 0.2 seconds remaining.

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Nov. 28th: Kings vs. Warriors – Sacramento won 124-123

Simultaneously functioning as an In-Season Tournament game in Golden 1 Center, Sacramento won their first regular season game against Golden State this season in their third matchup.

Andrew Wiggins (29), Curry (29), and Thompson (20) all recorded upwards of 20 points, but the Kings’ aggression attacking the rim to earn free throws made the difference.

The Kings attempted 42 free throws, a season-high, yet converted just 64.3 percent (27/42) of those looks. Fox’s production in that aspect was the most concerning, as he missed eight of his 17 attempts from the line.

The Warriors led by 24 points in the first half, but the Kings responded by tallying 40 points in the third and outscoring their opponent 29-19 in the final quarter.

Forcing Golden State into 20 turnovers and scoring 26 points off those mishaps contributed over 20 percent of the Kings’ point total. Kevin Huerter, who since had season-ending shoulder surgery, knocked down four triples en route to a 21-point performance.

Malik Monk, who will also be unavailable Tuesday due to a knee injury, scored 21 points on 8/12 from the field. Finding ways to replace their pace, spacing, and overall production will be critical in the upcoming Kings Warriors play-in game.

Jan. 25: Kings @ Warriors: Sacramento won 134-133

This one goes down as the Harrison Barnes game. The 31-year-old former Warriors scored a season-high 39 points on 14/24 shooting from the field, 7/12 from beyond the arc, and 4/4 on free throws.

With the veteran forward rolling, Sacramento found success going to him in the post as the game continued. With his up-and-down production throughout most of the season, it’d be risky to rely on that offense in Tuesday’s matchup. But it’s a fitting representation that anything could happen in one game.

Any given role player could unexpectedly tally 25+ points and change the tides. We see it all the time in game sevens or throughout March Madness.

For Golden State, Jonathan Kuminga (31) and Curry (33) both managed above 30 points on the night. It was the first Kings Warriors matchup in which Kuminga was predominantly featured. Rookie Podziemski had broken into the rotation by this point, but Jackson-Davis again logged a DNP-CD.

For the Kings, Keon Ellis was still nowhere to be seen. Like the previous regular season matchup, Mike Brown elected to go with Trey Lyles as the backup five rather than McGee or Alex Len. Len has been their recent preference, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Sacramento roll out Lyles in that role to optimize offensive production with improved spacing.

While defensive questions existed for both sides, this game was a prime example of both sides’ offensive firepower. Brown said Monday that the Kings Warriors regular season matchup would slightly be taken into account, but they will “not rely heavily on it” due to the significant changes both sides have made since this January matchup.

When is the next Sacramento Kings game?

The stage is set for a Kings vs. Warriors rematch.

Sacramento will get a chance at redemption on Tuesday night when it faces Golden State in another win-or-go-home showdown. The ninth-seed Kings will look to send the tenth-seed Warriors home when the two teams meet at Golden 1 Center.

Not even one year ago, Stephen Curry’s 50-point performance eliminated Sacramento in Game 7 of the NBA Playoffs’ opening round, which also took place on the Kings’ home floor.

Sacramento and Golden State split the regular season series 2-2 this season, with both teams winning one game at home and on the road.

Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Warriors coverage, beginning at 5:30 PM PST on Game Night before a 7:00 PM PST tip-off from Golden 1 Center.

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