Steph Curry

What we learned as Curry, big third quarter fuel Warriors' win vs. Kings

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SACRAMENTO – Kings players, coaches and the entire fanbase have to be sick of Steph Curry. At least a little bit.

In his first follow-up since Curry’s 50-point Game 7 performance to end the Kings’ season in the first round of the NBA playoffs, Steph once again made the baskets in Sacramento his second home. Curry scored 41 points to propel the Warriors to a 122-114 win over the Kings at Golden 1 Center.

Night, night to lighting the beam.

Curry in his last two non-preseason games in the Kings’ home building has scored a combined 91 points.

Chris Paul provided a 10-point, 12-assist performance in the Warriors’ win. His 12 assists are tied for the most ever for a Warriors player’s first road game with the team. He also only has two turnovers in his first two games. 

Kings star point guard De’Aaron Fox scored a team-high 39 points, including 22 in the fourth quarter.

Here are three takeaways from the Warriors’ first win of the 2023-24 season.

Steph Show

A major silver lining to start the season was the fact the Warriors were a plus-5 against Phoenix when Curry sat. Early on in Sacramento, the non-Steph minutes were a mess. Curry continued to torture Kings fans, scoring 18 first-half points in 17 minutes on 6-of-9 shooting. The Warriors were a plus-13 with him on the floor through the first two quarters. 

But they were a minus-10 when he sat in the first half and the Kings went on a 14-0 run with Curry watching from the bench at one point. Surprise, surprise – the Warriors still are a completely different team when No. 30 is on the court. 

They also made the proper improvements in the second half when Curry wasn’t on the floor, starting with a third quarter where Curry scored 16 points in eight minutes and the Warriors outscored the Kings 39-27. 

Whenever the Warriors needed a bucket and the right spark, they knew who to turn to. Curry took 19 shots on the night and only missed five of them. His 41 points came on 14-of-19 shooting, while going 7 of 10 from 3-point range and a perfect 6 of 6 on free throws.

A Better Wiggins

The Warriors began Friday night feeding the man they missed most in their season-opening loss. Andrew Wiggins cashed in two layups to give the Warriors their first four points, and he scored six of the team’s first eight. The Warriors’ first 10 points all came in the paint. 

Wiggins opened the game as the player the Warriors needed him to be. In the first half alone his nine points were one fewer than he scored all of Tuesday night, and his four rebounds were four times the single board he came down with against the Suns. 

From the start, Wiggins was active, aggressive and made his presence felt to impact the game in multiple ways. 

Steve Kerr didn’t need a huge scoring night from Wiggins when he also had the difficult task of chasing Fox around the floor. Wiggins totaled 11 points on 5-of-13 shooting, plus five rebounds, three assists and two blocks. He and Jonathan Kuminga also had very similar stat lines, including how many minutes each played.

Looney vs. Sabonis

Though Sabonis’ scoring is more vital and a bigger focus point of his team’s offense than Looney’s, the Warriors’ center had his way with the All-Star big man – just like he did in the playoffs.

Looney over the Warriors’ seven-game series against the Kings was a cumulative plus-36. Sabonis was a minus-49. On Friday night, Looney was a plus-4 in 28 minutes and Sabonis was a minus-9 in 36 minutes.

Known for doing all the little things right, Looney took a page from his high school highlight tape and crossed up Sabonis before throwing down a dunk. 

Each led their team in rebounds – Sabonis grabbed 18 and Looney had 12 – but Golden State’s quiet star rose to the challenge, something that won’t surprise his teammates or coaches.

Along with his double-digit rebounds, Looney also scored eight points, tallied six assists and swiped three steals.

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