Sacramento, CA -- Being without their starting center the Golden State Warriors assumed they had to do more both offensively and defensively to start the second half of the season off right. Hours before tipoff two of their players were traded and that might've fueled them even more.
With the trade deadline a day away both teams made moves to increase their talent. The Kings sent Marcus Thompson to the Brooklyn Nets for Jason Terry and Reggie Evans while the Warriors sent Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks to the Los Angeles Lakers for Steve Blake.
"Both guys are veterans and have been around the league and I know they will come in here with the right mindset," said Michael Malone. "The value in both is that they can be tremendous role models for these young guys."
"First one I've been around and it was kind of emotional," Andre Iguodala said regarding the trade. "He was a great kid, great character and a hard worker. I wasn't around him [Bazemore] long but he had an impact on me. We wish him nothing but the best."
Sacramento lost to Golden State 101-92. This is the second time Warriors have beaten the Kings at home. Tonight's win wasn't difficult especially since Sacramento committed 21 turnovers. Golden State took advantage of that and scored 22 points off those turnovers, despite their best shooter having a subpar game.
"That team has enough fire power offensively -- you don't have to give them many possessions," said Malone. "We seemed hell bent on giving them as many possessions as possible."
Both teams were without key players due to trades and injuries. The Warriors played more aggressively and became more dominant in the end. David Lee finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds, Klay Thompson with 18 points and Stephen Curry added 13 points and eight assists. Curry who was a starter in the NBA All-Star game didn't have his best night but felt his team played well enough for the win.
"It was a game that we were suppose to win," Curry said. "I didn't score a lot but I kept my turnovers down, I didn't have any tonight. I was able to make the right decisions with the ball and that helps our team get wins in clutch time."
Isaiah Thomas scored a game-high 26 points, reaching the 20-point plateau for the 32nd time this season. But that wasn't enough to stop the hot handed Warriors. Travis Outlaw finished with 18 points and Rudy Gay added 16 points and eight rebounds. The inability to share the ball has became a huge concern for Malone, too much ball handling and not enough passing has stirred the coaches corner.
"We have to try and get back to becoming a team that shares and moves the ball," said Malone.
"I don't think it's selfishness. We've just got to be smarter," Gay said. "And I'm saying this including myself. There are times you think you can score, but you have to make your team better."
The Kings are without their leading scorer and center DeMarcus Cousins, who has a strained left hip flexor. Without him Sacramento has fallen 0-8 this season, but while the deadline approaches the fans are hoping that more moves can be made in bringing this team back to it's playoff caliber.
In the meantime, the Warriors hold the cards this season, they have won three of their four meetings against the Kings thus far. The last regular season game for these two teams will be on April 4 at Oracle Arena. Until then it's still a work in progress, there's still a lot of basketball to be played and the team looks forward to turning things around.
Notes -- Kings "Donate Life" Night -- Transplant Recipients vs. Doctors was an exhibition pre-game prior to tip-off. The team consisted of transplants - of hearts, lungs, livers, kidneys and pancreases. They are all healthy and ready to take on another exceptional team -- surgeons, doctors and nurses.
"The docs and nurses better look out - because I'm 6 feet tall and I'm taking no prisoners," boasts heart transplant recipient, 44-year-old Nicole Ludwig. "I'm so excited to be doing this. Since I've had my transplant, I've wanted to give back and get the word out on donation -- because, without my donor, I wouldn't be here. Because of him, all of my dreams are coming true and I'm just so grateful."
Fourteen-year-old liver transplant recipient, Connor Cheney, echoes those thoughts, "I am thankful to get the chance to show how very healthy I am -- as we take on the doctors. My parents and family have called me their "superstar" since I received my life-saving transplant at 14 months old. That's because I am alive and well and living my best life -- all from the awesome gift from my donor."
Meanwhile, the doctors are also gearing up for their big night on an NBA court. Dr. Kevin Anderson, a urologist with Kaiser Permanente, says he was a bit unsure which team he should be playing on, since he's a heart transplant recipient, as well. But, he decided to suit up on the physician/nurses team - though he jokes that he might not be that much help. "Looking at the metaphysical part of things, when I was asked if I can play basketball, all I could say is, I'm hoping my donor was a great basketball player, because otherwise I'm sunk."
Finally, Kings Vice President Phillip Horn, who spearheaded the Kings Donate Life Night in order to help raise awareness of the critical need for organ and tissue donors, will also be taking to the court, on the recipient team, as a living donor. He donated his kidney to his wife, Danea, last fall.
"It's an incredible honor to be on the same floor as so many amazing organ recipients who have returned to full health to play a basketball game and to represent my wife," says Phillip. "I hope that we can take it easy on these docs so they can keep saving lives!"