There is a level of basketball that chases heads for hoops. Like a snowboarder looking for powder, or a surfer looking for a big break, the ecstasy when the snow is waist deep, the barrel is pure, or Steph Curry and De’Aaron Fox are swapping buckets at breakneck speed, it doesn’t seem like to nothing on earth. Whatever the most addictive drug, that was it Warriors–Kings Saturday night.
the crowd by Sacramento’s first playoff game — and winning — in nearly 17 years gave the Method-Man-and-Redman-playing-contest an-intimate-club energy, and I’m surprised Kings fans weren’t chanting “Encore!” after the 126-123 win. The postseason reintroduction for the Kings was also the point guard’s playoff debut for him, and he more than met the occasion with 38 points.
Just slightly outmatched, Steph Curry scored 30 points, many of them in the fourth in typical mind-blowing fashion, and Golden State played well. I kept expecting the Warriors to continue their patented third-quarter run, but every time they flirted with a double-digit lead, Fox or Malik Monk would fire back and send the Golden 1 Center into hysterics.
Andrew Wiggins was strong in his first game since the All-Star break, even if he missed a good look at a go-ahead 3-pointer with 10 seconds left in the game. The Dubs still had a chance to tie it after a pair of Monk free throws, but Curry’s running back from three at the buzzer just missed. And thank God because my heart would have stopped if I had walked in, and I want to be alive to see the rest of this series.
The final period was just Fox and Curry trading buckets at full speed but maintaining full control. It was a ballet only if the first two ballerinas had to move between 6-foot-7 swingmen. Then, as is customary in the California capital when the Kings win, Fox turned on the light. However, that light show paled in comparison to the one that preceded it.
Dubs flip switch, Kings always on
I know the broadcasters blew this story, but if you haven’t seen Sacramento play yet, what you saw — chemistry, effort and talent — isn’t new. This is how they earned 3rd place. Sacramento is pretty much the opposite of Golden State 2022-23 in that Mike Brown and his squad flipped the switch “on” early on.
Steve Kerr has been playing the long racket all season, which he’s allowed to do, so I’m not surprised how well his group played. You could tell how much the Warriors valued stealing Game 1 because they know what kind of grind they’re up against.
Sacramento just doesn’t know any better. They’re not going to pace themselves because their bodies recover like you used to when your liver wasn’t stained. Basically, what I’m saying is that neither of these teams will come out of this series without exerting a fucking metric ton of mental and physical energy.
And that is precisely the type of basketball I pursue. I want to see guys play so hard you can see their health bars deplete. I want things to get spicy. I want to feel how much players care about this because I seriously don’t know if that’s the case in the age of load management.
We have been getting a footed and laxative product since October. That’s not the case for the next month and beyond, and if Kings-Warriors is the last stimulant coursing through my veins, I’ll die a happy man.