Game 2 of the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors could not have gone better for the former. The Kings won 114-106, moving two games away from advancing into the second round of the 2023 NBA Playoffs. Not only did they take Game 2, but they will avoid Draymond Green in Game 3. Green was suspended for an altercation with Domantas Sabonis in the fourth quarter, so the Warriors now go back to San Francisco without a key member of their big three. Despite the Warriors being a much better team at home, they will be a different squad without Green in the lineup. His suspension puts the nail in the coffin of the Warriors season, as the Kings will lock up a series win against the defending champions.
The Kings have controlled the pace through Game 1 and Game 2, executing on both ends of the floor, particularly in the crunch time minutes. De’Aaron Fox has continued to be the leader, while Sabonis picked up where he left off in the regular season as a steady presence down low. Malik Monk has been huge off the bench, and Davion Mitchell is showing the elite defender he is in the national spotlight. Overall, the Kings have looked like a better team than the Warriors through two games, and it reflects in their 2-0 lead. As they prepare for Game 3 at the Chase Center, they have the Warriors on the ropes without Green. Here are 3 reasons why the Kings have the defending champions right where they want them.
*Game recap via ESPN
Domantas Sabonis dominates for the Sacramento Kings
Without Draymond Green, Sabonis is going to have a field day in Game 3. The Warriors still have Kevon Looney, who is a very capable defender, but he is about the only guy on the Warriors roster who could make a difference. Sabonis will find success against Looney, and subsequently the rest of the Warriors. It should lead to the best game of the series so far for the Lithuanian big man.
Sabonis is a double-double machine, and he will post his first such stat line of the series in Game 3. He shot the ball well from the field in Game 2, and will be consequently fed the rock to keep the momentum going without Green defending him. While he feasts down low and on the glass, he will also open up so many shots for Kings on the perimeter. Sabonis is a very strong passer, a similar player to Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokić, and he will display his ability to dish in the Bay. Game 3 will be a big game for Domantas Sabonis and the Sacramento Kings offensively.
Golden State Warriors are lost without Draymond Green
Draymond Green is never going to be the scoring threat that Stephen Curry or Klay Thompson are. However, he has always been an imperative piece in terms of finding open looks for the two Warriors shooters. Without Green, the Warriors will be without their primary facilitator, and the Kings will find it easier to stay locked on to Curry and Thompson. Both have made a career out of getting open off of the ball, which will prove to be much harder without Green being able to find them.
The Kings will be able to afford taking more risks on defense without Green, as primarily Curry will have the ball in his hands much more. They will really only have to keep track of Thompson off the ball, which will not be a problem for the younger, more athletic, and extremely strong defender Davion Mitchell. Overall, the Warriors offense is going to look lost without Draymond Green, and the Kings will be able to contain them all of Game 3.
History repeats itself
Stephen Curry currently finds himself down 0-2 for the first time in his storied career. The last time the Golden State Warriors were down 0-2 in an NBA Playoffs series as a team, the year was 2007. They were trotting out a starting lineup led by Baron Davis, with none of the current Warriors on the roster. That 2007 Warriors team ended up losing that series to the Utah Jazz 4-1, and this year, history is going to repeat itself.
Coming back from down 0-2 is hard enough in itself, let alone without one of the most important players for a key Game 3. History says the Warriors will not be able to come back and win the series, and the Kings are going to make sure of that. The Kings look hungry in the first playoff appearance in 16 years, especially hungry to knock the defending champions out of the 2023 NBA Playoffs. Precedent is on their side, and they will advance to the second round of the 2023 NBA Playoffs thanks in large part to the suspension of Draymond Green.
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