What we learned as Dubs let Game 1 slip away, lose to Kings


SACRAMENTO -- The wait was worth it. The hype was matched. And the Warriors and Kings battled for all four quarters Saturday night at Golden 1 Center in Game 1 of the Western Conference playoffs. 

A deafening Kings crowd had every reason to celebrate their first playoff win in nearly two decades with the Warriors falling 126-123. Get ready for a Northern California clash that everybody has been waiting for.

Steph Curry's 30 points, including 13 in the fourth quarter, weren't enough. Neither were Klay Thompson's 21. Jordan Poole scored 14 points in the first half, but only three in the fourth. The good news for the Warriors is Andrew Wiggins made a major impact in his return as he came off the bench for the first time in his career.

De'Aaron Fox was a star in his playoff debut, scoring 38 points. Behind Fox was Malik Monk lighting it up off the bench with 32 points. Monk was a perfect 14-of-14 from the free throw line. Trey Lyles also gave the Kings 16 points and four 3-pointers.

The Warriors led by six points at halftime, but were outscored by nine in the second half.

Here are three takeaways from the Warriors' Game 1 loss to the Kings.

Welcome back, Wiggins

All week long Steve Kerr and his players raved about how Wiggins looked in practices and scrimmages leading up to Saturday night.

They weren't wrong. It was hard to predict what kind of impact Wiggins would have after a two-month absence from games. 

He exceeded expectations. 

Wiggins entered the game at the 6:21 mark for Donte DiVincenzo. His first shot attempt was blocked, but he quickly made up for it by sprinting down the court and swatting Davion Mitchell's layup attempt. Throughout the first half, Wiggins resembled the playoff that had such a huge impact on the Warriors' championship run last season. 

In 14 minutes off the bench, Wiggins scored 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting. He had three rebounds, three blocks and was feasting as a slasher to the basket. 

Wiggins in the second half was held to five points. The most notable rust to his game was his 3-point shot. He was 1-of-8 from long range, and missed a crucial three in the final seconds.

Looney vs. Sabonis

Here's a very telling first-half: Kevon Looney's plus/minus was a game-best plus-14 in the first half. Damontas Sabonis was a game-low minus-10.

Sabonis certainly put up big stats in the first two quarters, scoring 10 points with nine rebounds but was 4 of 12 from the field. Looney took only one shot, which he made, scored four points and had five rebounds. His impact was worth so much more than stats as he kept plays alive and fought for everything.

While Sabonis did finish with a 12-point, 16-rebound double-double, the All-Star big man struggled all night long. Sabonis was 5 of 17 from the field, far from his usual efficient self.

Looney gave him loads of trouble. So did Draymond Green. How Sabonis responds in Game 2 will be huge for both teams.

Non-Steph Minutes

With 2:18 left in the third quarter, the Warriors led 86-78. But then, Curry went to the Warriors' bench. Everything changed. 

The Kings completely took advantage of the Warriors being without Curry. Sacramento went on a 13-4 run to close the third quarter, giving them a 91-90 lead heading into the fourth. Once the fourth quarter began, Curry still sat on the bench. 

And the Kings continued to take advantage.

RELATED: How Warriors' series vs. Kings, playoff run could define them

They outscored the Warriors by three points before Curry came back in. Really, that might have been the difference. Curry was a plus-11 on the night, the best of any player on both teams. The Warriors couldn't withstand the Kings' attack without their superstar on the floor. 

Kerr has one day to figure this out. If he doesn't, the Warriors could find themselves in a dreaded hole headed back home.

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