In an attempt to take their first season series from the Warriors since 2013, the Kings have won the first two meetings — one at each site — by a total of 34 points, holding Golden State under 100 points both times.
The 100-79 and 111-98 Kings triumphs have been quite a reversal of fate in a series in which the Warriors had won 21 of the previous 24 contests before this season.
The Kings have managed the easy wins despite not being at full strength either time. They were missing De’Aaron Fox in the 21-point romp at Golden State in December, then were without Bogdan Bogdanovic and Marvin Bagley III in the 13-point home triumph last month.
Sacramento is still without Bagley, who has missed 13 straight games with a sprained left foot. The Kings announced this week that their young big man’s status won’t be re-evaluated until at least mid-March.
The injury hasn’t prevented the Kings from making a belated push to join the Western Conference playoff chase. They have won two in a row and five of seven, including a 112-103 shocker over the Clippers in Los Angeles on Saturday.
«We’ve got 20-some-odd games left, and it’s a crapshoot right now,» veteran Kent Bazemore told reporters after contributing 23 points to Saturday’s win. «It’s a sink-or-swim moment. You see it every year: Some team gets hot and makes it interesting at the end. We have some lofty goals, and we have the group to get it done.»
Bazemore gets a bit of a homecoming at Golden State, where his career began when he was plucked out of the G League after going undrafted in 2012.
The Warriors are hoping to have found a similar diamond in the rough in Juan Toscano-Anderson, who got a promotion from the G League after Golden State dealt D’Angelo Russell, Glenn Robinson III, Alec Burks, Omari Spellman and Jacob Evans at the trade deadline.
Toscano-Anderson, a former standout at Castro Valley High in the shadow of the Warriors’ former home in Oakland, has made the most of his opportunity so far, averaging 7.6 points and 4.2 rebounds in five games while shooting 57 percent from the field and 56 percent on 3-pointers.
Toscano-Anderson had his best game in Sunday’s 115-101 home loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, going for season bests in points (16), rebounds (eight) and blocks (two). He shot 6-for-10 overall and 3-for-5 on 3-pointers.
«There’s one thing you can’t simulate no matter how much you work on your game, and that is game situations,» he told reporters after Sunday’s game. «With more playing time and more game experience, I become more comfortable, and I just learn every day from these guys. I’m learning from greats. I’ve got a great coach, great teammates, so I’m just here, and I’m soaking up a lot of knowledge from these guys.»
Toscano-Anderson’s 3-point shooting could prove beneficial against the Kings, who have dominated their rivals from beyond the arc in the two earlier meetings. While Sacramento has made 25 of 52 (48 percent) in those wins, the Warriors have hit just 11 of 51 (22 percent).
The Warriors are on a six-game losing streak.
–Field Level Media