Can Golden State do it on the road?
Two consecutive wins, a chance to put the series in a chokehold - but they must win a road game first.
The swing game is here. The Golden State Warriors handled business at home, ripping off two straight wins to even the series. One of those wins was a massive, 17-point drubbing that has been lovingly documented by not one, but two members of the DNHQ team. The other win was a one-point squeaker that came down to a missed three from Harrison Barnes. Of course, the Warriors had their own brush with victory, coming within one missed Andrew Wiggins buzzer beater, but ultimately falling short on the road.
Now it’s time to try and pick up the first road win of the postseason. The big news coming in is that Kings star, De’Aaron Fox has a fractured finger. A scary sounding injury, but one that is easily managed. Fox will be playing. He has been masterful, averaging 31.5 points per game in the four games against the Warriors - Malik Monk is second on the team, with 17 a game off the bench.
Look closely and you can see the wrapped fingertip here. Will it affect his floater? His threes? His passing and catching? Who knows. But the bottom line is Fox will be available without a doubt and will be ready to play, but this is definitely going to be a factor to some extent. Here’s an image of the affected body part:
Series is tied 2-2
WHO: Golden State Warriors at Sacramento Kings
WHEN: Wednesday, April 26th // 7pm PST
WATCH: TNT; ESPN2
Focus equals free time: Can the Warriors do it in six?
Coming into the series, I picked Warriors in six. On paper it felt like “Warriors in five” but then I added an extra game as a fudge factor because… well, because I’ve been watching this team crap the bed on the road all season. The series is currently tied up at two games each; and of the three games potentially remaining, two of them are in Sacramento. Get the win tonight, and the Warriors would have the ability to close out the series at home on Friday.
One of the most wild aspects of the playoffs are how little statistical patterns really matter. Malik Monk got real hot in a game - that’s a win for the Kings. Kevon Looney decided that every single rebound belonged to him actually - thank you very much - Warriors won that one.
So tonight, the Warriors are hoping to summon their postseason magic yet again. On paper, the series is incredibly close. Other than that one blowout (shoutout to DNHQ author attendance impact!) these games have been decided by three, six, and then one point. Random endings!
Now ideally, the Warriors would be in complete control. But not this year. These Kings are pushing the edges and Golden State has been barely managing to hold them back. How close? Well, in the last game, Fox had 38 points, nine rebounds and five assists for Sacramento. His three (shot with a fractured fingertip) with under 30 seconds on the clock pulled the Kings within one. Notably, Kirk Goldsberry did the squishy leg work to look into open shots, and boy… the Kangs are not getting lucky!
But this is a game of wins and losses, not margins. So the causality matters less. If it’s the Warriors defense clamping down, or the young Kings wilting under the bright lights of playoff pressure, the results are the same. Tonight’s game is going to be the most intense so far. A natural reset point for Sacramento, a chance to put the stamp on the series with a window to win out at home on Friday for Golden State if they can win.
In the Warriors’ favor, Jordan Poole just turned in his best playoff game of the year, and the supporting cast has looked more cohesive than ever.
It was a well rounded effort, that last home win. With Poole’s 22 points (on 15 shots), Andrew Wiggins added 18 points, 8 rebounds and 4 blocked shots, and Kevon Looney pulled down 14 rebounds, 8 points and 6 assists. With Curry (32 points) and Thompson (26) providing the baseline production, this is a Warriors team that can keep pace with the Kings on the offensive end, while also ratcheting down the defense on the other.
Can they do it tonight? On the road, in a rowdy Sacramento arena that is desperate for any whiff of playoff success?
Oh, for sure. Warriors (still) in six.
Then again… Curry did almost piddle the game away by calling a timeout that the team didn’t have… but nah, Warriors got this. Let’s go!