Warriors Observations

What we learned as Warriors' season ends with play-in loss to Kings

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SACRAMENTO – Just like that, the Warriors’ 2023-24 NBA season is over.

One year after playing the role of villain and sending the Sacramento Kings packing into the offseason following a seven-game first-round NBA playoff series win, Golden State found itself on the opposite end of the spectrum during Tuesday’s play-in game at Golden 1 Center.

Stephen Curry scored 22 points but committed six turnovers, an issue that plagued the entire Warriors roster, and Golden State could never catch up after falling into an early big hole, losing to the Kings 118-94.

It’s the first time since the 2020-21 season that the Warriors failed to make it to the playoffs.

The Kings advance to take on the New Orleans Pelicans at 6:30 p.m. PT on Friday at Smoothie King Center with the No. 8 seed and a date with the Oklahoma City Thunder on the line.

Klay Thompson, who missed all of that year with an Achilles injury, was held scoreless in what could be his final game in a Warriors’ uniform. The 34-year-old five-time All-Star has not received a contract extension from the only NBA team that he’s ever played for and is set to become an unrestricted free agent.

Jonathan Kuminga shook off a slow start and finished with 16 points and seven rebounds. Andrew Wiggins has 12 points but was a minus-25. Draymond Green added 12 points, three rebounds, six assists and two steals.

The two Northern California rivals split the four regular-season games and finished with the same record but the Kings held the tiebreaker based on having a better division record.

That was significant because the Warriors fell behind early, which allowed the pro-Kings crowd to get raucous and loud throughout the night.

The frustrated Warriors were serenaded by chants of “Light the beam” as they walked off the court after the game ended.

It was a completely different atmosphere than the one that flowed out of Golden 1 Center last season when the Warriors won a thrilling seven-game series in the Kings’ first playoff appearance after an NBA-record 16-year drought.

Golden State went into the day with a lot of momentum, having won 10 of 12. But all the good feelings disappeared quickly once Sacramento took control in the first quarter and never looked back.

Here are the takeaways from Tuesday’s game:

Splash brothers dry up

On a night when the Warriors were out of sync offensively for much of the game, not even two of their best scoring options were able to get much going.

A lot of times Curry appeared rushed to get his shot off while at other times it looked like he was just doing whatever he could to get a shot up. The two-time NBA scoring champ shot a respectable 8 of 16 overall and was 3 of 7 behind the arc

Thompson, who has epitomized the Warriors’ up-and-down theme during the 2023-24 season, missed all 10 shots he attempted, including six tries behind the arc.

It’s the second time this season that Thompson has been been held scoreless. He also failed to score against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Nov. 11, 2023.

A step slow

The Kings established a frenetic pace early in the first half that the Warriors had trouble trying to keep up with.

Golden State, the NBA’s top rebounding team during the regular season, got crushed on the boards which opened up the door for Sacramento to steal some needed second-chance points.

That brought even more energy to an already super-hyped crowd at Golden 1 Center, and the Kings thrived off that energy.

The Warriors committed 16 turnovers that led to 20 points for the Kings. The Kings also held a 37-15 advantage in second-chance points and fastbreak points.

Too many open looks

Time and time again the Warriors left Kings’ shooters wide open, especially in the corner. Sacramento, which has had similar problems of its own throughout the year, took full advantage and converted almost every time that Golden State’s defense got caught sleeping.

Early on, the Dubs’ inability to properly close out allowed Keegan Murray to get going. Murray, one of the Kings’ best perimeter shooters, dropped 14 points and canned four 3s in the first quarter.

The trend of allowing Sacramento to get open looks continued in the second half, and that played a role in Golden State being unable to really get its transition game going. That was pivotal because Golden State was doing a fairly decent job scoring and defending the paint. On the perimeter it was an entirely different story for both teams.

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