Stephen Curry Scores 50 Points to Knock Off Kings in Game 7

Published: May 01, 2023

SACRAMENTO — The Golden State Warriors ready for the finale of their first-round playoff collection with the Sacramento Kings by gathering for an off-day movie session on Saturday on an higher ground of Chase Center, their residence area in San Francisco, the place there’s a panoramic view of the bay.

Coach Steve Kerr likes to stage his movie periods there when the area is obtainable. Otherwise, he mentioned, the workforce is caught “in the dungeon down below,” exterior its locker room. He was grateful for the open area, particularly forward of Sunday’s Game 7. It was a therapeutic expertise.

“I do think there has to be a sense of perspective,” Kerr mentioned, “even if it’s just a nice view and some sunshine and a chance to breathe and relax between games. That can make a difference.”

Something else could make a distinction, too: Stephen Curry. No one appeared extra Zen on Sunday than Curry, who led the Warriors to a series-clinching, 120-100 victory by skewering the Kings in each conceivable approach on his option to 50 factors — an N.B.A. report for a Game 7. He sank parabolic 3-pointers. He drove for layups. He toyed with defenders.

Curry, who arrived on the Golden 1 Center in an all-black ensemble, as if dressed for a wake, outscored everybody and added eight rebounds and 6 assists. He shot 20 of 38 from the sector and seven of 18 from 3-point vary.

“What an incredible all-time performance,” Golden State guard Klay Thompson mentioned. “It’s just a joy to share the backcourt with him, and he never ceases to amaze me.”

The Kings had a magical season — their greatest in years — however Curry continues to be Curry, and the Warriors are nonetheless the defending champions.

Golden State, the No. 6 seed within the Western Conference, will face the seventh-seeded Los Angeles Lakers in a convention semifinal, beginning in San Francisco on Tuesday. The Lakers eradicated the second-seeded Memphis Grizzlies of their first-round collection on Friday.

Sacramento led, 58-56, at halftime, which is when Golden State — a workforce identified for years for eviscerating groups within the third quarter — went about its typical enterprise. After Thompson sank a 3-pointer, Curry sliced by way of a mixture of defenders to scoop in a layup, absorbing contact for good measure. The Kings’ Domantas Sabonis missed a floater on the different finish, then Curry scored once more to push Golden State’s result in 7.

The prevailing temper inside the sector was not essentially panic, however there was definitely angst. Curry had already been on this type of state of affairs on so many events, and none of it — not the hostile atmosphere, not the stress of a Game 7 — appeared to hassle him. In truth, he was feeding off it.

“This is one of the best players in the history of the game,” Kerr mentioned, including: “The resilience and the work that goes into that, the focus, it’s incredible to watch.”

In the closing moments of the third quarter, Curry discovered Thompson for an open 3-point try. Thompson made the shot and was fouled by the Kings’ Terence Davis. The Warriors led by 10. They grabbed 13 offensive rebounds within the quarter, and Kevon Looney, their beginning heart, had seven of them. He completed with 11 factors and 21 rebounds.

“The guy is a flat-out winner and a machine,” Kerr mentioned.

The Warriors and Kings franchises have lengthy performed lower than 100 miles aside, however for a lot of the previous decade they’ve produced very completely different manufacturers of basketball — reverse manufacturers of basketball, in truth.

As the Warriors busied themselves by profitable championships (4), taking part in in N.B.A. finals (six) and re-engineering the way in which basketball is performed because of the Splash Brothers (Curry and Thompson), the Kings spent the previous decade-plus scuffling by way of a desert of futility that had them bordering on irrelevance.

Sacramento went 30-52 final season, which was extra of the identical: a sixteenth straight dropping marketing campaign. But the Kings have been no less than exhibiting indicators that they needed to enhance, that they needed to vary their repute.

It was an overhaul that started final season after they acquired Sabonis, an All-Star heart, on the buying and selling deadline in a cope with Indiana. It continued over the low season after they signed the reserve guard Malik Monk in free company, traded for Kevin Huerter and employed Mike Brown, one among Kerr’s assistants, as their coach. They additionally capitalized on their place within the draft by choosing Keegan Murray, a ahead from Iowa, fourth total.

Sure sufficient, led by De’Aaron Fox, their All-Star level guard, the Kings went 48-34 in the course of the common season, christening every victory by capturing a beam of purple mild from the roof of their area. “Light the Beam!” turned a rallying cry, serving to to bury — if not utterly erase — the dysfunction of years previous.

On Saturday night time, Brown dined at a Sacramento-area restaurant along with his companion’s son. A small parade of younger boys approached their desk to ask Brown some incisive questions concerning the workforce’s gamers as their collection with Golden State neared a conclusion.

They needed to learn about Sabonis’s proper thumb, which he had fractured in the course of the common season. They needed to learn about Fox’s damaged left index finger, an harm he sustained in the course of the playoffs. They needed to know if Murray could be able to shoot in Game 7.

“And one of the kids was a Warriors fan, so they started ribbing him,” Brown mentioned. “And he was like: ‘No, I’m not! No, I’m not!’ But he had a Golden State Warriors hat on.”

More than something, Brown mentioned, he might sense their pleasure — a sort of postseason anticipation that Sacramento had not skilled in years.

As for the Warriors, their roster appeared in a state of fixed flux in the course of the common season. Curry injured an shoulder and sprained an ankle. Andrew Wiggins, their beginning small ahead, left the workforce in mid-February citing private causes and missed the ultimate 25 video games of the common season.

Kerr, in the meantime, struggled to strike a stability between securing a playoff berth (no certain factor) and creating younger gamers like Moses Moody, Jonathan Kuminga and James Wiseman, who was ultimately traded midseason. Ultimately, Kerr stored leaning on the same old suspects — Curry, Thompson and the defensive stalwart Draymond Green — because the postseason got here into sharper focus.

The Warriors welcomed Wiggins’s return for the beginning of the playoffs, then misplaced their first two video games, which offered a brand new impediment: Curry, Thompson and Green discovered themselves trailing in a playoff collection, 2-0, for the primary time of their careers. Perhaps they wanted a recent problem.

“To do this for a decade, it’s incredible,” Kerr mentioned of his core gamers. “The energy that it takes to fight off challengers year after year, and have to prepare and win games, and do it over and over — there’s a reason these guys are Hall of Famers and champions.”

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