OAKLAND -- With 25.5 seconds remaining in the Warriors' 125-123 win over the Kings, Draymond Green hit 1-of-2 free throws to give the defending champs a six-point lead. The game was all but over.
And then, Buddy Hield happened.
After missing his first six 3-point shots of the evening, the Kings guard stepped into a 32-footer in Kevin Durant’s face and drilled it.
Harrison Barnes fouled Warriors star Stephen Curry to give the Kings a five-point deficit with 17.4 seconds remaining. But once again, Hield sprung open in the corner and De’Aaron Fox hit him in stride for another 3-ball.
“The first one was crazy and the second one, I was driving and everybody thought I was going to shoot a layup,” Fox said. “But the way Buddy plays, he’s always hunting the ball and ready to shoot. And he kept running.”
Hit or miss, Fox was sending the pass. After a year-and-a-half playing alongside Hield, Fox knows exactly what kind of player he is.
“I’ll live with one of the best shooters in the world missing a three,” Fox added. “I just threw it to him and he made a shot and he got us back in the game. I’ll always live with Buddy shooting a shot like that.”
Andre Iguodala missed a pair of free throws with 7.4 seconds remaining, setting up another dramatic finish between these two teams.
Trailing 125-123 with under seconds remaining, Kings coach Dave Joerger called a play to get Hield the ball one more time. He thought about tossing up another 30-footer, but instead put the ball on the floor.
With very little time on the clock, Hield attempted a stepback 12-footer over the outstretched arms of Klay Thompson, but the shot barely drew iron and the game ended.
“I should have pulled that b----, I should have pulled it,” a clearly frustrated Hield said about the decision not to shoot from the perimeter. “I should have pulled it, no excuse.”
“I thought he was going to shoot it,” Fox said. “We were like, you should have shot that s---. You just made two of them. If we miss, we go home. If you make it, we go up one. It is what it is.”
Hield hasn’t been shy about hoisting up shots all season, and he has been lights-out for Sacramento on most nights.
While it’s only one loss, it was clear that this one hurt. The Kings went toe-to-toe with the NBA's best, and once again came up just short.
Hield sat in his locker stall long after media members walked away. He had his phone out watching the replay again and again, feeling worse about the decision with every view.
The loss dropped the Kings to 30-28 on the season. Golden State swept the season series 4-0, but by a total of 12 points.
Sacramento doesn’t have long to think about the narrow defeat. They Kings will play in Oklahoma City on Saturday night, trying to avoid a three game losing streak.