OAKLAND, Calif. — The possible game-winning shot that Klay Thompson missed in a last-second loss at Sacramento earlier this season will no longer be the second-year guard's enduring memory of the Northern California series.
Thompson made a go-ahead 3-pointer with 7.5 seconds remaining and finished with 20 points to lead the Golden State Warriors past the Kings, 87-83 on Wednesday night. Not only did Thompson atone for that 94-92 loss on Nov. 5, he helped the Warriors erase almost 48 minutes of bad basketball in one stroke.
"This kind of made up for it," Thompson said.
Thompson, who has matched his career best with three straight games of at least 20 points, then forced Tyreke Evans into an errant layup on the final possession to seal a sloppy win for the Warriors over the Western Conference's worst team. After dropping the first two in Sacramento this season, Golden State overcame 18 turnovers and 36 percent shooting against its Northern California rival.
David Lee had 17 points and 10 rebounds and rookie Harrison Barnes added 14 points for the Warriors, who are 2-0 since returning home from a four-game road losing streak. They held the Kings to 40 percent shooting and forced 15 turnovers.
"We're not the Miami Heat. We're not the Oklahoma City Thunder. A lot of nights it's not going to be pretty," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. "That's just the fact. I embrace it. I give my guys credit because we battled, we competed, we got stops when we had to and we continued to put a check mark in the `W' column."
Jason Thompson had 17 points and eight rebounds, and Patrick Patterson scored 15 for Sacramento, which has lost 11 of its last 13 games. DeMarcus Cousins had five points and four rebounds and sat out the entire second and fourth quarters in another bad body-language performance.
Asked after the game if he was surprised by his minutes, Cousins said: "You kind of expect anything here."
"I went with a group that kept us in the game," Kings coach Keith Smart said. "We are a play away from winning the basketball game. That group got us back in the game."
In the end, the long-range shot bailed out the Warriors again.
Stephen Curry came off a pick-and-roll and made a 3-pointer to give Golden State an 82-78 lead with a little more than 2 minutes remaining. The Warriors stopped Sacramento, but then had a shot-clock violation just before Jarrett Jack's layup.
Thompson hit a jumper and Patterson followed with a 3-pointer in front of the Warriors bench to put the Kings ahead 83-82. Patterson mouthed a few words and flicked three fingers back at Golden State's bench as he skipped down court.
The Warriors then blew two chances to tie or take the lead. Jack missed a 3-pointer on the first one, and Thompson missed an open jumper after another stop and timeout.
The third time proved to be the charm.
Lee found Thompson standing open in the corner on a play designed for Curry, and the second-year guard's swish gave Golden State an 85-83 lead, holding his hand in the air as the sold-out crowd announced at 19,956 roared to its feet. Thompson, whose miss around the free-throw line capped the loss in Sacramento, had never hit a game-winning shot in the NBA.
"Didn't know it'd come this time around. But if you want to be a great player in this league, you can't have a conscience," said Thompson, who finished 6 for 17 from the floor. "I've learned a lot this year. I've missed some big shots. Hopefully this is a building block. I've learned you just got to play free out there and let it go when you're open."
Evans missed a difficult layup in Thompson's face on the next play, Draymond Green grabbed the rebound and made both free throws to seal the victory. Evans said after the game Thompson should've been called for a foul.
"Everybody saw it, but I didn't get the call, so got to keep playing," he said.
Andrew Bogut, starting for the second straight game after sitting out the previous six with back spasms, only played in spurts and deferred to his teammates on offense. He finished with two points and eight rebounds in 28 minutes.
Cousins picked up two fouls in the first 10 minutes, sat the rest of the half and often looked disinterested. During one timeout in the second quarter, he watched the in-house band instead of joining the Kings huddle. Cousins, who had eight points on 1-for-12 shooting in a home loss against Denver a night earlier, finished 2 for 10 from the floor.
With more room to move on the floor, Jack and Thompson each made two 3-pointers and Curry added another to highlight a 20-6 run in the first quarter that gave Golden State a 26-16 lead. The Warriors started 5 of 9 from beyond the arc.
Sacramento answered with a 15-5 spurt capped by Toney Douglas' layup and 3-pointer midway through the second quarter. The Kings led 44-41 at the break.
Each team committed nine turnovers in the first half. Both sides struggled to create separation the rest of the way, and neither team looked sharp.
"At this point in the season," Lee said, "I'll take a win any way we can get it."
NOTES: The Warriors are 185-184 all-time against the Kings. The teams play one more time this season on March 27 in Oakland. ... Curry's streak of at least 25 points in five straight games ended. ... Lee had his season-high eighth straight double-double.