The first playoff game for the Sacramento Kings was predictably loud. Then his voice rose.
In their first playoff game since 2006, the Kings defeated the Golden State Warriors 126-123 in Game 1 to take an early advantage in the first-round series between the NBA champions and superstar juniors.
De’Aaron Fox didn’t need much time to adjust to the playoffs in his career debut, as he had 38 points, 5 assists, and 3 steals.
The energy was felt in Golden 1 Center before the tip. Not only were the Kings facing the most dominant team in the NBA in the past decade, they were up against their closest competitor. It was personal, and you could hear it from the nosebleed.
The first two and a half quarters went the way Sacramento fans likely feared. The Kings demonstrated the kind of offense that gave them the third seed in the Western Conference and the highest offensive efficiency in the NBA, but the Warriors didn’t seem to be up against anything they hadn’t seen before.
After a close first half, the Warriors took a double-digit lead in the third quarter and were working their shooting. Stephen Curry finished with 30 points, while Klay Thompson had 21 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists.
The Kings found life later in the third, erasing a 10-point lead in the final three minutes to enter the fourth quarter tied. The fourth becomes an all-out war, with Carey and Fox exchanging haymakers.
A pair of Malik Monk’s free throws finally put the Kings up 3 points with 2.9 seconds left, then Curry’s tying effort just missed.
After a few minutes, the beam lit up.
The attacking rush of Kings was overwhelming even by their standards. They scored 69 points on their last 45 possessions in the game, an average of 1.53 points per game. In addition to Fox, one of the team’s biggest offseason acquisitions last season was Malik Monk, who finished with 32 points on just 13 shots and made all 14 of his free throw attempts.
Game two is scheduled for Monday at 7 p.m. PT in Sacramento. With all the struggles of road warriors made of, this game suddenly seems too dangerous for the defending champions.
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