Biggest Takeaways from the Warriors Game Seven Win
BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS FROM THE WARRIORS GAME SEVEN WIN – The Golden State Warriors came into this season as the defending champions. Not only that, they had won four titles over the previous eight years.
However, the team struggled at times during the regular season. They finished as the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference. Additionally, they won just 11 of their 41 games away from the Chase Center. To put this into its proper perspective, the 11-30 mark is the worst road record by a defending champion in NBA history.
Although they managed to avoid the play-in tournament, their first-round playoff series against a very talented Sacramento Kings team was not going to be a cakewalk. And if the Dubs thought that would be the case, they were put on notice early, as the Kings won the first two games of the series on their home court.
Facing an 0-2 deficit for the first time since Stephen Curry was drafted 14 years ago, the Warriors held serve on their home court, tying the series at two games each. The defending champs had a chance to close out the series on their home court after stealing Game 5 on the road, but the Kings returned the favor by defeating the Warriors 118-99 to force a seventh and deciding game.
True to the way they played during the regular season, the Kings played with pace, enabling them to go into the break with a slim 58-56 lead. While that had to be encouraging, the Warriors came out with a heightened sense of urgency. When it was all said and done, what once was a very competitive, nip-and-tuck contest, turned into a 120-100 victory for the road team. With the win, the Warriors move on to the next round to face the Los Angeles Lakers.
While that series has a ton of star power, here is a look at the biggest takeaways from the Warriors’ Game 7 victory over the Kings.
Takeaway #3 – Warriors Recapture Championship Form
One of the trademarks of the Warriors’ championship teams is they tend to find a second gear in the third quarter, and this contest was no exception. After trailing by a basket going into halftime, Golden State outscored Sacramento by a 35-23 margin, essentially taking control of the game in the third period.
And if that wasn’t enough, the Dubs continued to play well on the defensive end of the court in the final frame, limiting the Kings to just 19 points. If the public thought that the Warriors’ reign was coming to an end, the defending champs showed what they are made of when it mattered the most.
Former Houston Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich said “Never underestimate the heart of a champion “when his team hoisted the Larry O’Brien trophy back in 1995 – ironically, as a No. 6 seed. While the home team wins about 80 percent of the time in a Game 7, the Warriors have proven that their reign as NBA champs isn’t over just yet.
Takeaway #2 – Kevin Looney’s Continues to Dominate the Glass
Warriors big man, Kevin Looney, signed a three-extension for $8.5 million in the offseason. In case you are wondering, yes, that is a bargain rate for the intangibles that Looney brings to the table.
He rewarded Golden Staten State by averaging 9.3 rebounds during the regular season. This is the highest average during his eight years in the league.
But in this series, Looney showed up and showed out. He finished with 21 rebounds today. That’s right. I said 21 rebounds. The Warriors tallied 18 offensive rebounds, 13 of which came in the pivotal third quarter. How important were Looney’s efforts on the glass? Well, he had 10 of those 18 offensive rebounds. Looney also added 11 points (on 4-for-5 shooting) and handed out four assists.
As a team, the Warriors finished with 55 rebounds. Given that Looney had 21 boards means that he accounted for 38 percent of the team’s total rebounds. Not too bad for a guy that they brought back for an average salary of roughly $2.8 million per season.
It was the third time this series in which Looney finished with 20 rebounds. Looney was a crucial component during the Warriors’ championship run last season, and he’s proven to be just as valuable this season
Takeaway #1 – Kings Have No Answer for Stephen Curry
It’s no surprise that Stephen Curry was the team’s leading scorer in every contest as the Kings and Warriors headed into a winner-take-all Game 7. With that in mind, I predicted that he needed to continue this trend with the Warriors’ postseason run hanging in the balance.
Would Chef Curry be able to put the team on his shoulders once again? Of course, he did. In the first half, Curry accounted for 20 of the team’s 56 points, but the best was yet to come.
In the second half, Curry hit big shot after big shot. And by the time the dust had settled, Curry finished with a jaw-dropping 50 points (on 20-for-38 shooting from the floor) to go along with eight rebounds and assists. He also converted seven of his 18 attempts from distance.
Curry’s 50-point explosion was not only a personal playoff best for the greatest shooter of all time, it was the most points scored by any NBA player in a Game 7. His former teammate, Kevin Durant, previously held the record with 48 points. Even Magic Johnson – who is regarded as the player that revolutionized the point guard position – took to social media to offer his thoughts on Curry’s performance:
When the Warriors needed superstar Steph Curry the most, he put the team on his back and led them to a 120-100 win over the Kings! With 50 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists, this was one of his greatest performances ever!
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) April 30, 2023
Curry did get a little help from Klay Thompson (16 points) and Andrew Wiggins (17 points), but they shot a combined 9-for-35 from the field (25.8 percent). That said, the Warriors needed someone to step up in a big way, and that is exactly what Curry did. And his performance is the primary reason why the Warriors are advancing to the next round.