Thursday, November 30, 2023
5-Hour Energy

NBA Preview: Sacramento Kings (2-1) at Golden State Warriors (3-1)

The Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors meet for the second time in six days, this time with a significantly different look, when the Northern California rivals go head-to-head Wednesday night in San Francisco.

Stephen Curry won a scoring duel with rival point guard De’Aaron Fox 41-39 last Friday when the Warriors, as they had done six months earlier in Game 7 of the Western Conference first-round playoffs, went to Sacramento and prevailed 122-114.

The Warriors played without defensive ace Draymond Green, who has since returned from a sprained left ankle. But at the same time, Fox sustained a sprained right ankle that will keep him out indefinitely.

Fox was injured in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 132-127 overtime victory over the Lakers. After a brief visit to the home team’s locker room, he was able to play through it in the extra session, but mostly watched Malik Monk take charge with 11 points.

Kings coach Mike Brown said the temptation is to move the high-scoring Monk into Fox’s spot in the starting lineup, but he’s opting to promote Davion Mitchell instead.

Monk finished with 22 points off the bench against the Lakers. He had games of 32 and 28 points in Kings wins in their 4-3 playoff loss to Golden State in April.

The Kings have played one game on the road this season, prevailing 130-114 over the Utah Jazz on opening night behind a 22-point, 12-rebound double-double by Domantas Sabonis.

Green limited Sabonis to 16.4 points and 11.0 rebounds – both below his regular-season averages – in the playoff series. But the double-double machine took advantage of his rival’s absence last week to put up 19 points and 18 rebounds in the loss.

The Warriors were able to triumph due in large part to Curry, but also due to the improved play of their bench, which has gotten a boost since Chris Paul became leader of the second unit on Golden State’s 2-0 trip to Houston and New Orleans on Sunday and Monday.

Paul, who started in Green’s place at Sacramento and produced his only double-double of the season with 10 points and 12 assists, recorded a total plus/minus of plus-39 in 53 minutes in the Warriors’ 11-point win over the Rockets and 28-point romp over the Pelicans.

Despite playing just 30 minutes, Curry had 42 points against the Pelicans. But Moses Moody, promoted from the second team with Klay Thompson resting a sore right knee, was the only other Golden State starter to score in double figures with 13 points. Three reserves — Paul (13), Trayce Jackson-Davis (13) and Gary Payton II (10) — were able to do so.

Warriors reserves combined for 52 points in the win.

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