On the verge of total embarrassment as the reigning NBA champions, the Golden State Warriors got up off the mat and threw a haymaker back at the Kings on Thursday to earn massive game three victory. Even without Draymond Green, their defense stepped up in a big way in limiting Sacramento’s offensive firepower. The Warriors now find themselves as a sizable favorite in game four, sitting at the key number of -7.5, per DraftKings sportsbook. My prediction is that we are in for another defensive minded performance, witnessing scoring lulls on both ends of the court.
Sacramento Kings vs Golden State Warriors Prediction
There are very few instances in my life where I have a bet regret and game three included one of them as I passed on the full game under. If you recall in my game one breakdown, I mentioned that the Kings and Warriors defensive production play at far different levels in terms of efficiency when they are home or away. The Kings in particular as they rank 24th in Defensive Efficiency as a whole per TeamRankings yet 10th when on the road.
That defensive intensity was on full display in their losing effort in game three as they held the Warriors total scoring under their average mark. Not having Draymond Green’s facilitating abilities played a part in the slower scoring pace, but the Warriors did a good job in masking his absence by freeing Curry with a heavy usage in screens at the perimeter. It will be intriguing to see how they handle Green’s return in terms of how often the start of a set runs through him.
Whether they install Draymond back into his typical usage rate or lean more towards Curry’s playmaking, I expect the Kings to maintain their elite road defensive efficiency metrics in an effort to apply serious pressure on the Warriors with a 3-1 series lead. This can be done by hedging screens over the top while maintaining the second player underneath for a drive, forcing Curry to back pedal after clogging his path and getting the ball out of his hands. Forcing Klay Thompson or Andrew Wiggins into more ball handling duties can slow down their scoring opportunities.
Sacramento Kings vs Golden State Warriors Betting Odds
The Warriors splits have been a common theme throughout the year as they have a tendency to play back towards their elite metrics when at home and oddsmakers believe they comfortably win once again by opening them as a -8 favorite. Bettors are in disagreement, backing the Kings down to +7.5 in hopes game four will be much closer than their last time out.
As for the total, points are expected to be scored at a blistering fast pace as they opened the number at 238.5. Bettors were quick to back the under, taking it down to the widely available 237.5 as of writing. As I’ve alluded to earlier, I am on the under as I can no longer ignore the sharp contrast in style of play as the Kings on the road step up in defensive efficiency while the Warriors play at an elite rate when at home.
- Kings are 15-6 ATS in the last 21 meetings against each other
- Kings are 11-3 ATS in the last 14 meetings in Golden State
- Under is 4-1-1 in the last six meetings overall
Can the Warriors continue to limit the Kings secondary scorers?
Kings secondary scoring Vs. Warriors defensive efficiency
The home Warriors played back to their roots and did an excellent job at limiting the Kings scoring opportunities by applying pressure to their secondary scorers. Forcing the ball out of De’Aaron Fox’s hands and daring someone else to beat them from over the top proved to be effective as they held the Kings to 97 total points.
This is a viable defensive gameplan as the Kings lack a second elite playmaker, relying on Fox to create space for them with his slashing ability while commanding defensive attention into the middle.
Fox was still able to generate his own scoring opportunities, but stalled out the Kings as a whole when the Warriors anchored in and shifted back over to whoever he kicked it out to. Doubling the secondary look rattled the Kings, wasting shot clock in hesitation and forcing a low-quality look before time expired.
Take the under at no lower than 235.5 as both units should be able to maintain their elite defensive metrics in a pivotal game four matchup.
Sacramento Kings Starting Lineup
Golden State Warriors Starting Lineups
Sacramento Kings Injuries: Matthew Dellavedova (O), KZ Okpala (O)
Golden State Warriors Injuries: Jordan Poole (P), Gary Payton II (P), Andre Iguodala (O), Ryan Rollins (O)