The Golden State Warriors dropped Game 1 of the Western Conference quarterfinals to the Sacramento Kings, 126-123. Golden State has struggled mightily on the road this season, but many expected that to go away in the playoffs. The Warriors are the defending champions and have proven to be a premier team in the NBA for nearly a decade.
However, in Game 1, the Kings got the better of them. De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk carried the way for Sacramento. Fox had 38 points, including a strong stretch to end of the game to close it out. Monk had 32 points and stepped up for the Kings. Sacramento won despite an inefficient performance from Domantas Sabonis.
The Warriors played well offensively, but they struggled on the defensive end of the floor. This was somewhat expected, as the Kings are an elite offensive team. High-scoring games should be expected throughout the series. However, in a high-scoring game, it’s important to get stops down the stretch. Golden State was unable to get that done, as Fox led Sacramento in the clutch.
Steve Kerr and the Warriors coaching staff will look to make adjustments as they head into Game 2. With that said, here are two Warriors to blame for the Game 1 loss to the Kings.
Warriors to blame for loss
Jordan Poole is the Warriors’ 6th man and their key scorer off the bench. Poole was integral on their championship run last season, which earned him a four-year $128 million extension. With that contract, Poole has solidified himself as a crucial piece of the Warriors’ core.
In Game 1, Poole had 17 points, shooting 4-for-10 from the floor. His numbers aren’t bad, but he was a -5 on the floor and struggled defensively. He didn’t score enough to offset the defensive mishaps. Going forward in the series, the Warriors will need Poole to have explosive games off the bench and improve on the defensive end of the floor.
Klay Thompson has been a part of the Warriors dynasty and helped them win four championships. Thompson put up solid scoring numbers in Game 1, finishing with 21 points. However, he was inefficient getting there as he shot 8-19. Shooting 19 shots to put up 21 points won’t get it done. Thompson was a -14 when he was on the floor and didn’t have his typical playoff performance.
In Game 2, the Warriors need Thompson to be more efficient at shooting the ball and make a bigger impact on the defensive end of the floor. If Golden State can do a better job of containing the Kings’ elite guard Fox, it could go a long way in the series. They also need to contain Monk, who emerged as a clutch scorer off the bench.
The Warriors want to defend their title, but this first-round matchup won’t be easy. Golden State has struggled on the road all season long, and the Kings are a high-quality team. While they don’t have much playoff experience on their roster, they are still a formidable opponent. In order to advance, Golden State will have to find a way to win at least one game on the road.
Although Kerr’s group has the talent to bounce back, it won’t come without adjustments. They need to get more production out of their best players and do a better job of containing the Kings’ offense.
Game 2 is on Monday night, and the Warriors will look to bounce back and even up the series at 1-1.
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