It seemed as though the Warriors had all the momentum after winning three straight games to go ahead 3-2 in their first-round series against Sacramento, which made their Game 6 home loss Friday night all the more stunning, writes Tim Kawakami of The Athletic.
Kawakami calls the 19-point defeat Golden State’s “most disappointing” performance since the trio of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green started making the postseason in 2013. The locker room was understandably quiet and reflective afterward.
Still, the team remains confident it will be able to rebound and emerge victorious Sunday afternoon in Sacramento for Game 7.
“It’s up to us to go to Sacramento and do everything we did tonight — but opposite,” Thompson said. “And I know we will respond. I just know this team. I know these guys. I’ve played at the highest level with them and I know what we are capable of, and we will respond like the champions we are come Sunday.”
Here’s more from the Pacific:
- It’s time for head coach Steve Kerr and the Warriors to re-insert Draymond Green into the starting lineup in place of the struggling Jordan Poole, argues Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area, who points to Green’s experience of winning in high-pressure situations and his defensive acumen as reasons why the change should take place.
- The Kings made a “series-altering” adjustment in Game 6, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic. They decided to go smaller and faster, with more shooting around De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk, who both had terrific games. They went away from Alex Len as backup center and used Trey Lyles at the five, with Terence Davis, Kevin Huerter and Keegan Murray receiving more playing time, while Harrison Barnes and Davion Mitchell played less. “We knew we could run them a little bit and we took advantage of that tonight,” Monk said. “I felt it a little bit more on them. They were a little tired. We’re younger than they are. So we knew we could take advantage of that. We’re going to try to do the same thing Sunday.”
- Confirming a recent report from Mark Medina, president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank says the Clippers will “continue to build around” Kawhi Leonard and Paul George despite their injury troubles, as Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN relays. “Kawhi’s a ceiling raiser,” Frank said. “When you study past NBA champions, they have a top-five guy on their team, and Kawhi has shown that when healthy he can be the best player in the world. Paul is an eight-time All-Star now. So we’re going to continue to build around those guys and look for every which way [to improve around them].”
- Both Leonard and George are eligible for pricey contract extensions in the offseason, and the Clippers will discuss the matter with their star players when the time comes, per Youngmisuk. “Those guys are great players and they’re great partners and we want to keep them as Clippers for a long time,” Frank said. “And so we’ll look forward to those conversations. And the No. 1 goal is how can we build a sustainable championship team? And those guys have been great partners, so at the appropriate time, we look forward to sitting down with them.”