May 27th, 2024

Kings eliminate Warriors from play-in tournament with 118-94 win

By Josh Dubow, The Associated Press on April 16, 2024.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – Keegan Murray scored 32 points, De’Aaron Fox added 24 and the Sacramento Kings stayed alive in the play-in tournament, eliminating the Golden State Warriors with a 118-94 victory on Tuesday night.

Sacramento advanced to play at New Orleans on Friday night with a chance to return to the playoffs as the eighth seed in the Western Conference after snapping an NBA record 16-year playoff drought last season.

The Kings avenged a Game 7 loss at home to Golden State in last year’s first round by playing cleaner and being quicker to loose balls against the older Warriors in what was one of the most consequential wins for the franchise in two decades.

The loss kept Golden State out of the playoffs for the third time in the past five seasons, including two eliminations in the play-in tournament. The Warriors committed 16 turnovers, gave up 15 offensive rebounds and way too many open 3-pointers, looking nothing like the dynastic team that won four titles from 2015-22.

Klay Thompson missed all 10 shots from the field and Stephen Curry didn’t get nearly enough help. Curry finished with 22 points but was hounded for much of the game by Keon Ellis.

The undrafted Ellis, who was on a two-way contract until February, added 15 points to go with his strong defense. Harrison Barnes scored 17 and Domantas Sabonis had 16 points and 12 rebounds for Sacramento.

The meeting between the Northern California rivals separated by less than 100 miles was a rematch of last year’s series won by Golden State. Curry scored 50 points in the seventh game.

The crowd was loud from the start even if the energy didn’t quite reach the level of last year’s matchup, when Sacramento fans celebrated the end of the record-long playoff drought.

Murray hit four 3-pointers in the first quarter and the Kings built their lead to 16 points in the second quarter before the Warriors rallied behind their bench to cut the deficit to 54-50 at the half.

Golden State got within one early in the third quarter before Sacramento responded with a 19-5 win keyed by a pair of 3-pointers from Ellis to build the lead back to 15 points.

The Kings were never threatened in the fourth quarter, leading to cheers to “Light the beam!” over the final few minutes.

AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba

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