The Kings and Warriors played yet another wild game on Sunday afternoon, with one of the craziest final minutes of a game we’ve seen all season.
The two teams traded runs throughout the game, as each team’s ability to get hot offensively and the pace the game is played at allowed for leads to evaporate quickly. In the fourth quarter, it seemed as if Golden State had finally wrestled control away from Sacramento, thanks to some tremendous defense from Draymond Green (his second key defensive stop in a row) and a floater from Andrew Wiggins to put them up five.
WHAT A GAME IN SAN FRANCISCO!
— NBA (@NBA) April 23, 2023
The Kings would again drive into a tough shot and miss on the next possession, which should’ve allowed the Warriors to march to the free throw line over the final 45 seconds and try to ice the game. However, Stephen Curry didn’t realize Kerr’s questionable challenge had burned their last timeout, and he very confidently pulled a Chris Webber, signaling for a timeout when he got trapped by the Kings.
Steph called a timeout not knowing the Warriors didn't have any left 😳 pic.twitter.com/acJ2ONkEZ7
— ESPN (@espn) April 23, 2023
That suddenly opened things up for the Kings, who would get a free throw and the ball back. After Malik Monk knocked down the freebie, the Kings got the ball down four and threw the ball into De’Aaron Fox who pulled up for a huge three over Green to cut the deficit to one and bump his scoring total to 38 on the afternoon.
With a one-point deficit and a four-second differential between the shot and game clock, Sacramento opted to play it out on defense and got some luck in the form of Curry missing a wide open floater with 11 seconds left well short off the rim, which the Kings were able to eventually corral and call a timeout.
On the Kings’ final possession, there was no doubt who was going to start with the ball in his hands, as Fox got Curry on a switch but lost his handle as Curry pressured him, allowing Green to pinch down in time to force him to pick up the ball and pass to Harrison Barnes on the wing. Barnes got a good look at the rim, but was unable to knock it down against his old team, giving Golden State a one-point win.
The Warriors hold on against the Kings to even series! pic.twitter.com/jsDfV1F2ps
— NBA TV (@NBATV) April 23, 2023
It was far more stressful for the Warriors than it should’ve been when they were up five with the ball inside 45 seconds to play, but they now move on to Game 5 tied at 2-2. Curry did enough defensively on the last possession to bother Fox and make up for what was one of the worst stretches of play of his career prior to it with the timeout and quick floater that missed.
The Kings have been resilient all year and showed it again in this game, as they took haymakers from the Warriors and always fought back, including the way they battled int he final minute. Game 5 will be another high-pressure test of their ability to bounce back from a disappointing result, as letting an opportunity to steal a game on the road from the Warriors slip away has doomed many teams in the past.