The Warriors will face the Sacramento Kings in a crucial NBA In-Season Tournament West Group C matchup on Tuesday at Golden 1 Center.
Third-place Golden State, who is 2-1 with a plus-6 point differential in group play, welcomes back Draymond Green from his five-game suspension, aiming to defeat first-place Sacramento, which leads the quintet with a 3-0 record and plus-28 point differential.
At Warriors practice on Sunday, Green was asked if his return from suspension, combined with Golden State’s growing rivalry with the Kings, would provide for a postseason-esque atmosphere in Sacramento.
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“Yeah, I think it will be fun,” Green shared with reporters on Sunday. “A lot of fun. I think it will be a lot like Game 7. You know, the atmosphere, the excitement, the angst. The feeling that I am expecting is that it will feel like a Game 7.”
The Warriors defeated the Kings 120-100 in an intense Game 7 of their first-round 2023 NBA playoff series. In the teams’ two regular-season meetings so far this season, the Warriors won both by scores of 102-101 on Oct. 27 and 122-114 on Nov. 1.
Dating back to last season, the Warriors and Kings have a collection of heated moments as Sacramento snapped its 16-year postseason drought, turning itself into a Western Conference threat.
Golden State Warriors
Coincidentally, the Kings sparked a heated Northern California rivalry with the seven-time champion Warriors, who has embraced the clash, holding extra motivation for these games.
Green, who posted 13 points, nine assists and two rebounds in the Nov. 1 game against the Kings this season, is expecting a roaring ambiance in Sacramento similar to last year’s Game 7 but acknowledged his expectations might be unique.
“You never know how someone is going to react to something,” Green told reporters on Sunday. “Some people get nervous and they get quiet. Some people get nervous and they start yelling. You could never be so certain until you get in the game and actually feel the environment.”
Clearly, Green will treat Tuesday's contest like a Game 7, regardless of who shares a similar fire.