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Lee’s 23 help push Warriors over Kings

Alan Draper profile picture
Sports Editor
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — David Lee was fatigued in the final quarter Wednesday, but the Golden State forward pushed through it and provided some key support for the Warriors’ usual backcourt tandem.

Now, the team hopes that a trade will help out guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson even more.

Lee’s 23 points included some big shots in the final quarter and helped to lift the Warriors (32-22) over the Sacramento Kings 101-92 on Wednesday at Sleep Train Arena in the first game for each team since the All-Star break. Lee’s big effort helped offset a less-than-stellar combo effort by guards Curry and Thompson, who combined for 31 points, 12 fewer than they normally average.

“I was a bit more winded than normal, because we hadn’t played in a week,” said Lee, who was playing only this third game since Feb. 8 because of shoulder and hip injuries, as well as the six-day layoff for the All-Star break. “Fortunately, I was able to make some shots.”

Lee’s shot from inside the key ended a stretch of nine straight Warriors possessions without a basket bridging the third and fourth quarters, and a layup two possessions later was followed by a Thompson 3-pointer, as Golden State used a 13-4 run at the start of the fourth period to pull ahead to stay.

Fatigue is a feeling not unfamiliar to Curry and Thompson. Curry was tied for fourth in the NBA with an average of 37.7 minutes per game before the all-Star break, and Thompson was seventh at 37.6. Against the Kings, Thompson scored 18 points in 38 minutes and Curry had 13 on only 5-for-14 shooting in 36 minutes.

The Warriors moved to alleviate the minutes needed from those two by acquiring guard Steve Blake from the Los Angeles Lakers for guards Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks. Blake, who turns 34 next week, averaged 9.5 points and 7.6 assists in the final year of a four-year, $16 million contract for the Lakers.

“We’re getting a big-time basketball player,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. “He can play the one or the two, he’s a professional, he’s not afraid of the big shot. We’re happy to have him.”

Guard Isaiah Thomas led Sacramento with 24 points, 12 of them in the third quarter when he led the Kings on a 15-4 run that erased the last vestiges of Golden State’s 54-39 second-quarter lead. But the Kings (18-36) lost for the fourth time in five games and for the 11th time in 14 despite their second big trade of the season.

Sacramento sent guard Marcus Thornton to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for two veterans, guard Jason Terry and forward Reggie Evans. Terry, who has averaged 15.4 points and 4.4 assists over a 15-year career, is a veteran presence that coach Michael Malone said can help with changing the losing culture that has enveloped the franchise. Evans, in his 12th season, will bring additional rebounding and hustle.

“Adding Jason and Reggie provides our roster with toughness and veteran leadership,” Kings general manager Pete D’Alessandro said. “They bring a wealth of NBA experience that will undoubtedly make a positive impact on our younger players.”

Thornton’s $8.2 million salary made him the Kings’ second-highest paid player this season, but he was scoring only 8.3 points per game, a career-low.

The Kings did not say whether the two would be in uniform in time for Saturday’s contest against the Boston Celtics.

Sacramento didn’t need its new additions to erase a 15-point second-quarter deficit, its largest of the game. Thomas scored 10 points during the final 5:26 of the third quarter to spark the Kings’ 15-4 run that put them ahead 76-75 going into the final period. Thomas and guard Quincy Acey also helped slow down Curry and Thompson, picking them up early in Golden State’s possessions and limiting them to a combined three points on 1-for-5 shooting in the third quarter.

The two opened up on fire, with Curry nailing 4 of 5 shots in the opening period and Thompson 3 of 4. Curry made only one more shot from the field after that, a driving layup during Golden State’s early fourth-quarter run.

Forward Andre Iguodola added 13 points for the Warriors. Forward Travis Outlaw scored 18 points and forward Rudy Gay had 16 for the Kings.

The Warriors have won twice in Sacramento this season, the first time that’s happened since the 2004-05 season.

NOTES: Warriors F Andrew Bogut missed his fifth straight game with left shoulder inflammation. Bogut ranks seventh in the NBA with 1.9 blocks per game. … With the trade of G Marcus Thornton to the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday, the Kings have only five of 17 players — C DeMarcus Cousins, G Isaiah Thomas, G Jimmer Fredette, F Jason Thompson and F Travis Outlaw — remaining from those who suited up for them last season … Warriors C Jermaine O’Neal returned after missing the previous two games with inflammation in his right wrist and made only his fourth starts of the season. O’Neal played in only 20 of Golden State’s 53 games during the first half. … Kings C DeMarcus Cousins (left hip flexor sprain) missed his eighth game because of injury this season. He missed 10 in his first three seasons, and only nine because of injury.

Alan is an expert gambling writer who works as one of the chief editors for Basketball Insiders. He has been covering online gambling and sports betting for over 8 years, having written for the likes of Sportlens,, The Sports Daily, 90min, and His particular specialisms include US online casinos and gambling regulations, and soccer and basketball betting. Based in London, Alan holds an MA in English Literature and is a passionate supporter of Chelsea FC.

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