This was not necessarily the expected scenario. The Kings, who were playing for their survival, won Friday, April 28 in San Francisco against the Golden State Warriors (118-99), in the NBA play-offs. They will play at home the 7th decisive game to reach the Western Conference semi-finals.
Defending champions, the Golden State Warriors thought they had done the hardest part by winning 48 hours earlier in Sacramento to break their very tight series. But the Dubs were very far from done. Here is the equality restored at 3-3 and the doubt of switching to their camp.
Steve Kerr's men have the experience and the talent necessary to have the last word, but they will first have to show a different face than that displayed in this sixth game, sometimes borrowed if not apathetic in defense and rebounds, despite the stakes. A recurring problem all season.
Opposite, driven by a sense of urgency, the Kings played with the bit in their teeth, providing a collective response at all times on both sides of the floor. What characterized them throughout the exercise, finished in 3rd place in the West. Symbol of their success: the bench of substitutes, which brought no less than 52 points, Malik Monk being the most prolific of them (28 pts).
Awesome DeAaron Fox
And what about DeAaron Fox? Despite a fracture to the tip of the index finger of his left hand, the one he shoots with, the fullback was still elusive, weaving like an eel through the helpless Warriors rearguard, strong a remarkable address (26 pts, 10/18 on shots, 11 assists). "We've always believed in ourselves. We know that we can score a lot of points against any team and that defensively we had to do better,” he said.
All without Domantas Sabonis bringing a lot of water to the mill (7 pts, 11 rebounds), weighed down by numerous early faults and excluded early in the last quarter for his sixth harvest. The evening was also very rough for the Lithuanian pivot, who received an involuntary nudge under the left eye from Kevon Looney before the break.
Never entered this match on the right foot, which could nevertheless qualify it in front of its public, Golden State was clumsy in attack, paying as much for the opposing efforts of deterrence as for risky choices, like Jordan Poole hardly inspired (7 pts at 2/11 to shoots).
Despite sporadic flashes from Stephen Curry (29 pts) and Klay Thompson (22 pts), the Warriors evolved in a thick fog, jostled aggressively by Kings who were also dominant on the rebound (53 captured against 42).