For 82 games, the Warriors showed us who they were. They turned the ball over more than any team in the league (14.1% of their possessions). They struggled to win on the road (11-30). They were nothing special in tight contests (20-21 in clutch games). They were 27th in the league in transition defense (points allowed per fast break). They fouled a lot (giving up the sixth most free throws per game). And there were moments they lost their composure, going all the way back to Draymond Green punching Jordan Poole during training camp.
In the biggest game of the season Monday night, Green lost his composure again and was ejected in the fourth quarter for stomping on the chest of Domantas Sabonis.
Sabonis is down after Draymond stepped on him. pic.twitter.com/6MwsNLT2Pj
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 18, 2023
“My leg got grabbed,” Green said after the game (Sabonis did receive a technical for grabbing Green’s leg on the play). “Second time in two nights. Referees just watch it.”
Green added he had to put his foot down somewhere after Sabonis grabbed it but the referees told him he “stomped too hard.” Which he did. Sabonis underwent X-rays to check his ribs and lungs after the game.
Green’s over-the-top moment — he egged on a booing Sacramento crowd after the incident — not only hurt his team in this game, he could face a suspension from the league for his actions. At the very least there will be a healthy fine before Game 3.
Green getting ejected grabs the headline, but for the second game in a row the Kings were just better than the Warriors.
Golden State’s issues from the regular season followed them to the playoffs: The Warriors fouled too much and gave up 11 more free throw attempts than they took on Monday, they turned the ball over 22 times (21.7% of their possessions), and they struggled in the clutch again with Sacramento pulling away in the final minutes – a 12-5 run to close the game — to seal a 114-106 victory.
Sacramento now leads 2-0 in this first-round series, which heads back to Golden State on Thursday.
Part of that win was the Kings getting quality nights from their stars. Sabonis finished with 24 points on 8-of-12 shooting, while Fox added another 24. That duo also got support, with Malik Monk having another quality outing with 18 points, while Kevin Huerter added 18 of his own. It was another team effort from the Kings where they played relentlessly fast, trying to run the ball down the Warriors’ throats. The Kings playing downhill and attacking got both Green and Kevon Looney in foul trouble.
Everything seemed to work for Sacramento, and now Golden State is down 0-2 in a series for the first time in the Stephen Curry era.
Curry finished with 28 points on 9-of-21 shooting to lead Golden State. Andrew Wiggins — back in the starting lineup — had 22 points, while Klay Thompson scored 21. But the Warriors team that got key stops and overwhelmed their opponents with shooting has yet to show up in this series.
“They did a great job defensively and pressuring us and we didn’t handle it well enough to win a playoff game on the road,” coach Steve Kerr said.
The Warriors need to focus on handling the pressure of winning two games at home — where they have been dramatically better this season — or their title defense will be stomped on much earlier than expected.