Earlier this month, the Golden State Warrriors were four games under .500, and in danger of missing the playoffs for the second straight season. Now, following their 117-113 win over the Sacramento Kings on Sunday night, they’re 31-30 and tied for ninth place in the Western Conference.
They certainly didn’t have an easy time with the pesky Kings in this one, and actually trailed for most of the game. Buddy Hield and Tyrese Haliburton were cooking, the Warriors turned it over 16 times, and Steph Curry didn’t make a shot in the fourth quarter. But they found a way to win a close one, which is something they’ve struggled with at times this season; coming into this one they were 6-9 in games decided by five points or fewer.
And while Curry struggled in the fourth quarter — most notably he threw a pass right to Hield in the closing seconds that should have given the Kings a wide open layup to take the lead, but Hield bobbled the ball out of bounds — he put on a show earlier in the night to keep the Warriors in the game.
He finished with 37 points, seven rebounds, and four assists to reach 30-plus points for the 12th time in 13 games this month. As usual he was hitting some truly ridiculous 3-pointers.
On one possession early in the first quarter he dribbled the ball off his foot late in the shot clock, ran into the backcourt to retrieve the it, then went behind his back into a step-back from 30-something feet and caught all net. If that wasn’t enough, he executed a perfect two-for-one late in the half where he let the ball roll to midcourt, picked it up, took one dribble and rained in a deep three.
There really is nothing like watching Curry shoot when he’s in the zone.
As for the Warriors, they’ve now won seven of their past nine games and are above .500 for the first time since March 20. Thanks to this hot streak they’re now tied with the San Antonio Spurs for ninth place in the Western Conference, and are actually only three games back of the sixth-place Dallas Mavericks, who hold the final guaranteed playoff spot.
It’s unlikely the Warriors are going to jump multiple teams to get that high in the standings at this point, but they are getting closer to clinching a spot in the play-in tournament. With this win over the Kings, they’re 4 1/2 games ahead of the New Orleans Pelicans with 11 games to play.
It’s not time to celebrate quite yet, but even with three of those games being against the Pels, that’s a pretty safe lead.