The Sacramento Kings finally ended the longest active playoff drought in North American professional sports by clinching the No. 3 seed in the West. Their last NBA Playoffs appearance was in 2006, and their success this season captured the hearts of Sacramento and NBA fans nationally. The Beam Team finished 48-34, and were led by their two stars De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis. Sabonis came over in a trade last season with the Indiana Pacers that sent Tyrese Haliburton to Indiana, spurring immense scrutiny. However, given the Kings success this season, both sides seem to have improved from the deal. The Kings now prepare for Game 1 of their 2023 NBA Playoffs series against the defending champion Golden State Warriors.
The Warriors underperformed this season on their way to the No. 6 seed, but no one is going to underestimate Golden State come the playoffs. As long as the Warriors are throwing out the trio of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, they are a team with the potential to win it all. Subsequently, guys like Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole, Kevon Looney, Donte DiVincenzo, Gary Payton II, and Jonathan Kuminga round out another deep roster for the Warriors. Going into the game against the Kings, they are preparing for a hard-fought series. In terms of Game 1, here are three bold predictions for the start of the 2o23 NBA Playoffs series between the Sacramento Kings and the Golden State Warriors.
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Domantas Sabonis has triple-double for Sacramento Kings
Domantas Sabonis was an NBA All-Star this season, and for good reason. He averaged 19.1 points, 12.3 rebounds, and 7.3 assists in 79 games, establishing himself as arguably the best playmaking center in the NBA behind Nikola Jokic. Against the Warriors, Sabonis is going to come out hot and dominate for the Kings all game long. In the final box score, Sabonis is going to have a triple-double. Against the Warriors, this would be a typical effort for Sabonis.
On November 13, 2022, Sabonis almost finished with a triple-double against the Warriors, as he ended the tilt just two assists shy. He had 26 points, a massive 22 rebounds, and 8 assists. The Kings came away with a victory in the game, displaying that such an effort will do wonders for the Kings chances. In Game 1 against the Warriors, Sabonis is going to complete the triple-double effort this time and lead the Sacramento Kings in the stat sheet.
De’Aaron Fox out-duels Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry
For the last decade in the NBA, the story has primarily been the Golden State Warriors dynasty and Stephen Curry. Curry has led the Warriors to four NBA Championships, albeit two with Kevin Durant creating what many believed to be an unfair advantage. Nonetheless, Curry has cemented himself within the argument of greatest guards of all-time, all the while being the obvious choice for greatest shooter of all-time. Curry is not one to rest on his laurels and is certainly hungry to bring home another ring to the Bay Area this year too. However, in Game 1 vs the Kings, Sacramento point guard De’Aaron Fox will score more points and play an overall better game than Stephen Curry.
Fox took a big step forward in his game this season, elevating his name into the hierarchy of point guards in the NBA. Being the focus of a Kings team that snapped a 16-year playoff drought of course endears him to the Sacramento faithful, but the rest of the NBA took notice as well. A big factor in his winning play is his clutch time performance, as Fox was undoubtedly the most clutch player in the league this season. Close game after close game, Fox took the ball and poured in crunch-time buckets while making the key plays down the stretch. In Game 1 against the Warriors, Fox will continue to do the same and in general outplay the Warriors’ Stephen Curry.
Kings win Game 1 by double digits
The Sacramento Kings are going to send a message to the NBA after Game 1. They have been mostly considered the feel-good story of the league in talks before the 2023 NBA Playoffs begin, but little press has been made that has them going far into the postseason. The Kings will take this to heart and dominate the defending champions from the opening tip until they secure a double-digit win.
Starting the 2023 NBA Playoffs with a dominating win over the Golden State Warriors will truly cement the Kings as a serious contender. The rest of the NBA will start to take Sacramento a little more seriously after Sabonis, Fox, and the rest of the Beam Team take it to the Warriors in Game 1 for a resounding win.
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