Last week, the Warriors needed a 47-point masterpiece from Stephen Curry to sneak past the Kings at home. Sunday in the Golden 1 Center, the Warriors got only a traditionally awesome Curry performance, not a nuclear one, and took a loss. Curry finished with 27 points, six rebounds and four assists.
A career night for Domantas Sabonis (26 points, 22 rebounds, 8 assists) kept the Warriors (5-8) winless on the road, as the Kings held on for a 122-115 victory.
For the first time since the 1989-90 season, the Warriors have lost their first seven away games.
Here are three takeaways from Golden State’s latest loss.
Bench still not better
The story of Golden State’s season so far has been its starters — statistically the best unit in the NBA — getting consistently let down by the reserves.
Steve Kerr has been lineup tinkering to search for solutions, but the Warriors’ bench still doesn’t appear close to cohesive.
Warriors starters spotted the bench a 15-point lead to start the second quarter. Before long, it was shaved to five.
Donte DiVincenzo’s return allows Jordan Poole to play more off the ball, which has unlocked a bit more offense. The Warriors have ditched the full hockey rotation of five reserves at once, tried Jonathan Kuminga at the five and benched James Wiseman, but it still hasn’t clicked.
A string of turnovers from Anthony Lamb, Poole and others gave Sacramento a comeback runway. A lack of interior defense and too many fouls also gave the Kings easy points.
Because of the struggles, Kerr trimmed the rotation even further. Golden State played nine guys the entire game, leaving Wiseman, Moses Moody and JaMychal Green on the sideline.
When GSW went back to a bench run to open the fourth, it bled points. Sacramento expanded its lead to 107-98.
One of the biggest developments with the bench came in crunch time, when Kerr opted to play DiVincenzo over Poole. The former Villanova guard played 24 minutes to Poole’s 20 and closed with the starters.
Steph Curry Heater
Curry became the oldest player with consecutive 40-point games since Michael Jordan before Sunday, and he looked on his way to another brilliant game in the first quarter.
The two-time MVP drained five of his first six shots for 13 points in the first frame. He got to the rim at will, using a ridiculous array of dribble combinations and impossible finishes.
But Curry went scoreless in the second quarter — which Sacramento won 38-23. It was a curious dip for a star who’s been molten lava hot.
Curry returned out of the halftime locker room with an instant four-point play. The Kings responded by trapping him more aggressively, often sending two defenders to him when he crossed halfcourt.
Then he charged a 13-2 Warriors run in the fourth. He balanced searching for his own shot off the dribble with using his gravity to create open looks for his teammates.
Curry was the only Warriors starter who finished with a positive plus-minus. The stats weren’t as eye-popping as they were the past two games, but it was still vintage Steph Curry.
Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers
Many of the Warriors’ giveaways were just lazy. Poole shuffled his feet for a travel. Curry got whistled for a carry. And Kevon Looney — when he was 40 feet away from the hoop.
Poole added another walk on a stepback attempt. Golden State played cleaner in the second half, but could never fully recover.
The turnovers resulted in free extra possessions for Sacramento. Golden State trailed by two at halftime because they coughed up the ball 13 times. Midway through the third quarter, the Warriors had 50-40-90 splits as a team — and were still losing.
GSW committed 18 turnovers in the game, only slightly more than its season average (16.6). Sacramento scored 26 points off Golden State turnovers, constantly attacking a backpedaling defense.