Warriors rout Kings 102-69, sweep season series
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) After reserve Marreese Speights finished a one-handed dunk over Travis Outlaw in the fourth quarter, teammates Andre Iguodala and Stephen Curry jumped off the Golden State Warriors’ bench and ran onto the floor in celebration.
Speights stood at half court and encouraged the announced sellout crowd of 19,596 – or what was left of it, anyway – by waving his arms in the air. His teammates laughed, and so did almost everybody in the arena.
Everybody, that is, except the Sacramento Kings.
Klay Thompson scored 21 points, Curry had 13 points and five assists and the Warriors moved closer to securing a playoff berth by routing the Kings 102-69 on Friday night.
”It was loud in there and my teammates were all the way on the court,” said Speights, who had 12 points and 10 rebounds. ”It was good to see support like that.”
The Warriors led 59-27 at halftime and 75-33 early in the third quarter, turning the game into a laugher. It was the fewest points Golden State has allowed this season and the fewest points Sacramento has scored.
Not only did the Warriors (47-29) match last season’s win total, they also gained ground in the Western Conference playoff race. Golden State moved within 1 1/2 games of fifth-place Portland with six games to play after the Trail Blazers lost to Phoenix.
”I just got a feeling we’ll win more games than we did last year,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson joked. ”I got a strong feeling about that.”
DeMarcus Cousins finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds, and Rudy Gay scored 10 points for the rebuilding Kings (27-49), who looked lost and lethargic against their Northern California rivals.
Golden State outshot the Kings 44.7 percent to 32.1 percent, which was a season low by a Warriors’ opponent and a season low for Sacramento. The Warriors also outrebounded the Kings 58-44 and forced 16 turnovers to sweep the season series (4-0) for the first time since going 5-0 against Sacramento in 1991-92.
”We were tentative. I thought we played soft for long stretches,” Kings coach Michael Malone said. ”We were not aggressive, we were very hesitant and they had us on our heels.”
The Warriors crushed the Kings even while playing without starting center Andrew Bogut and power forward David Lee. It was the fifth straight game Lee has missed because of a strained right hamstring and the fourth game in a row Bogut has sat out with a bruise in his pelvis and groin area.
Jermaine O’Neal had 13 points and nine rebounds, and Draymond Green added 10 points and 10 rebounds to help Golden State outscore Sacramento 54-28 in the paint.
With Golden State’s starting big men sidelined, the coast was clear for Cousins to dominate down low. Instead, Sacramento’s center picked up two fouls in the first 1:48, Malone was called for a technical foul trying to defend him and the Warriors shut down Sacramento the rest of the quarter – and most of the game.
The Kings started 1-for-11 shooting, including missing 10 straight shots and committing eight turnovers during a span of nearly nine minutes. The Warriors whipped the crowd into a frenzy after converting all those turnovers into a flurry of fast-break dunks.
”It happened pretty fast, but once it started to happen, I just think guys got rattled,” said Cousins, who spent most of the fourth quarter on the bench with a towel over his head. ”We just never really recovered.”
With most of the team struggling and point guard Isaiah Thomas out for the sixth consecutive game with a bruised right quadriceps, the Kings provided little punch – and even less fight.
Green caught a full-court pass from O’Neal for an uncontested layup early in the third quarter. O’Neal put his hands in the air as if he was signaling for a touchdown.
The Warriors went ahead 75-33 moments later and spent most of the fourth quarter laughing and smiling on the bench, especially after Speights’ slam.
NOTES: The fewest points the Kings had scored in a game previously this season came in a 99-79 loss to San Antonio on March 21. … The fewest points the Warriors had allowed was in a 76-74 loss to the Spurs on Nov. 8. … The Warriors finished 8-0 at home against Pacific Division opponents for the first time in franchise history.
Antonio Gonzalez can be reached at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP