SACRAMENTO KINGS

Sweet Revenge: Kings eliminate Warriors, advance in NBA Play-In

Apr 16, 2024, 9:45 PM | Updated: 10:26 pm

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 16: Keegan Murray #13 of the Sacramento Kings shoots over Draymond G...

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Entering play on Tuesday night, the Sacramento Kings held an 0-6 record in winner-take-all postseason games since moving to Northern California in 1985.

Last April, the Kings fell short in the playoffs’ first round as the Golden State Warriors claimed a Game 7 victory on Sacramento’s home floor, ending the Beam Team’s first playoff run in 17 years.

In what acted as an abbreviated postseason rematch between the two teams in the single-elimination NBA Play-In Tournament, the Kings wouldn’t be denied–not again.

Sacramento won its first winner-take-all game in over 43 years on Tuesday night, beating the Warriors by a final of 118-94 at Golden 1 Center to keep their season alive and send Golden State into the offseason.

It was a complete effort from the Kings, as all five starters scored 15 points or more, and Keegan Murray (32 points on eight-of-13 from deep) led a Sacramento offense that shot 46 percent from three-point range.

At long last, the Kings have bested the ‘big brother’ Warriors and will look to clinch a playoff berth with a win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday.

Kings vs. Warriors Recap & Takeaways

Entering play on Tuesday night, it wasn’t a secret that both of these teams loved to let the three-ball fly.

Sacramento (fourth) and Golden State (second) both held top-ten rankings among NBA leaders in made three-point field goals, and the Kings–or, namely, Keegan Murray–got it going early from beyond the arc.

An aggressive Murray caught fire from deep, scoring 14 points during the first quarter on four-of-seven from three-point range to help Sacramento jump out to an early 25-15 lead. With Murray dialed in and De’Aaron Fox (eight points in the first quarter), the Kings took control of the game early as the Warriors struggled to find a focal point on offense.

Sacramento took a 31-22 lead into the second period, an advantage that would be pushed to 16 points as the Kings dominated the glass and hurt Golden State on second-chance points–trends that the Warriors owned during last April’s playoff series.

While it seemed as if Sacramento was on the verge of blowing things open, Golden State locked in on the defensive end, holding the Kings to eight-of-26 (31%) shooting from the field during the second quarter to reduce a 16-point lead to 54-50 heading into the third quarter.

Jonathan Kuminga put the Warriors on his back in the second quarter, scoring 10 of his 12 first-half points–all within the top of the key–to reapply pressure on Sacramento’s defense.

If the Kings wanted to avoid a repeat of last year’s Game 7, they would need more from Fox, Murray, and company to survive the inevitable second-half Golden State run.

As they did at the start of the game, Sacramento burst out of the gates on a tear to open the second half, outscoring the Warriors 23-12 over the first few minutes of the third quarter to push its lead back into double digits.

Fox, the reigning Clutch Player of the Year winner, channeled his late-game aggression into the third period by scoring 14 points on six-of-eleven shooting in the quarter to compliment Murray’s seven points as both players crossed the 20-point mark.

The Kings shot 54 percent from the field in the third while holding Golden State to 35 percent to regain control of the game.

After outscoring the Warriors 37-26 in the period, Sacramento held a 15-point lead as they moved within 12 minutes away from turning the tables and ending Golden State’s season.

It seemed as if Curry, Klay Thompson, and Andrew Wiggins were due to break out of their first-half slumps following the break, but the Warriors were unable to find consistent offense from the trip as the Kings’ lead swelled to 20 points late.

Thompson struggled in what could be his final game with Golden State (0 points, 0/10 FG), while Curry’s 17 second-half points were all that the Warriors had to rally around as their offense finished the night shooting 41 percent from the field and just 10-of-32 (31%) from three-point range.

As for Sacramento, it was a much different story.

Murray came up huge for the Kings, scoring in various ways, but making his living beyond the three-point line.

The second-year forward erupted for a game-high 32 points on 10-of-20 shooting from the field and eight-of-13 from deep to go along with nine rebounds and two steals over 38 minutes.

With Murray locked in, De’Aaron Fox chipping in (24 points), and Keon Ellis doing a bit of everything, Sacramento got more than enough production out of its starters to maintain control of the game for most of the night.

Ellis was the other star of the night, as the second-year guard thrived on both sides of the ball, scoring 15 points (three-of-four shooting from three-point range), grabbing four boards, handing out five assists, blocking three shots, and swiping three steals over 38 minutes.

“He’s not afraid of the moment. He’s not afraid of the moment at all,” Fox said of Ellis following the win.

Thanks to ten steals from an engaged Kings defense, Sacramento scored 20 points off of 16 Warriors turnovers in one of the Beam Team’s strongest defensive showings of the year.

Golden State’s 94 points on Tuesday was the team’s second-lowest scoring outing of the 2023-24 season–a clear sign that the Kings’ defense was at the top of its game during the winning effort.

The battle of the boards also went Sacramento’s way, with the Kings nearly doubling up the Warriors in the offensive rebounds department (15 to 8).

It was a dominant performance across the board for Sacramento, who desperately needed to end its struggles in winner-take-all postseason games and get over the hump against a Golden State team that has had their number for the past decade.

In what could be the final game we will see the Warriors trio of Curry, Thompson, and Draymond Green play together, the Kings got their revenge and erased the sour taste of last year’s Game 7 loss.

Notes

  • Domantas Sabonis added 16 points, 12 rebounds, and seven assists over 36 minutes.
  • Klay Thompson’s scoreless outing was the fifth time over 951 career games (regular season and postseason) that he has failed to score a single point.
  • The Kings entered play on Tuesday holding a record of 0-6 in winner-take-all postseason games in the Sacramento era (1985-present). Sacramento’s win was their first in such a game since April 14, 1981, when the Kansas City Kings beat the Phoenix Suns in Game 7 of the second round.

Injury Updates

Malik Monk (right knee) will be re-evaluated in three weeks after suffering a right knee MCL sprain.

Kevin Huerter (left dislocated shoulder and labral tear) will miss the remainder of the season after having surgery and is slated to be ready for the start of the 2024-25 season.

When is the next Sacramento Kings game?

Sacramento will need one more win on Friday night to keep their season alive and clinch a first-round playoff berth, but the New Orleans Pelicans will stand in their way as the two teams will meet for the sixth time this season.

The Pelicans have won all five head-to-head meetings against the Kings this season, including a 135-123 triumph on April 11th at Golden 1 Center.

Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Pelicans coverage, beginning at 5:00 PM PST on Game Night before a 6:30 PM PST tip-off from New Orleans.

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Upcoming Schedule

  • Friday, April 19th – Sacramento Kings @ New Orleans Pelicans – 6:30 PM PST

NBA Postseason Schedule

  • Tuesday, April 16th-Friday, April 19th – NBA Play-In Tournament
  • Saturday, April 20th – NBA Playoffs (First Round) begin

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