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sport / / NBCSBA (Poole): Warriors' three kings powerless against inevitable reality in loss

o NBCSBA (Poole): Warriors' three kings powerless against inevitable reality in loRobin Miller

NBCSBA (Poole): Warriors' three kings powerless against inevitable reality in loss


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From: robin.mi...@invalid.invalid (Robin Miller)
Subject: NBCSBA (Poole): Warriors' three kings powerless against inevitable
reality in loss
Date: Wed, 17 Apr 2024 21:28:43 -0400
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 by: Robin Miller - Thu, 18 Apr 2024 01:28 UTC

Warriors' three kings powerless against inevitable reality in loss

By Monte Poole

• Published April 17, 2024

SACRAMENTO – When the final horn sounded, with the Warriors defeated and
their mystique extinguished, there was no anger, no flailing in protest,
no rude dismissal of their conquerors.

There was, instead, a symbolic tip of the hat to the Sacramento Kings
and a somber acceptance of inevitable reality that came in the form of a
118-94 thumping in a loser-goes-home NBA Play-In Tournament game Tuesday
night at Golden 1 Center.

“We’ve been really blessed here with amazing players and multiple
championships and Finals appearances,” coach Steve Kerr said. “The
highest of highs.

“And this is the flip side. This is life. This is how it works. You
don’t get the stay on top forever.”

Golden State’s fabled recent history was of no help against the younger,
hungrier, friskier Kings in this play-in game. The Warriors were
powerless as their past and present flashed before their eyes, which now
close for the season.

The championship core of Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson
will miss the NBA playoffs for the first time in their 10 seasons as a
healthy trio. They’ve never used their six hands to close the door to an
NBA season in April.

“It’s a horrible feeling,” Curry said. “When you go out there and
compete, leave it all out there, and it doesn’t go your way. We
obviously understand that you can’t win it every year. But there was so
much belief that we could make something of this season, keep our hopes
alive and try to get a win and take it from there.

“Sacramento played unbelievable tonight.”

The Kings’ defense, with Keegan Murray leading the way, was chasing
Curry as if he were trying to run off with their paychecks. Green’s
trademark energy ebbed and flowed but never made the kind of impression
he so often managed in the final weeks.

And Thompson, with the most tenuous future – he’ll be an unrestricted
free agent – had the roughest night of all. His defense was consistently
targeted, and his offense simply never made it inside the arena. He was
scoreless, taking 10 shots and missing all of them.

Most everything that could betray the desires of these trusted veterans
did. They bobbled passes. They lost dribbles. They threw errant passes.
They inadvertently stepped out of bounds. Put simply, they gave
Shaquille O’Neal considerable video for his laughable lowlights.

“We clearly weren’t good enough,” Kerr said of a team that finished
46-36 in the regular season.

The Kings were playing at a different speed, with unrelenting
determination. They outrebounded the Warriors, who finished the regular
season as the league’s top rebounding team. The Warriors were outscored
25-9 in second-chance points, 12-6 in fast break points and scored only
12 points off Sacramento’s eight turnovers while gifting the Kings with
20 points off 16 turnovers.

Not until Kerr, a believer until the final minutes, emptied the bench
with 2:13 remaining in a show of surrender, did the Warriors accept
their fate. They did it with a distinct show of resignation.

Indeed, after the final horn, Curry and Green and Thompson shared
embraces with several Kings and staff members, some of whom were with
the Warriors in the best of times.

There were signs all along that the Warriors had fallen, most notably
their 4-19 record against the top six teams in the Western Conference –
the teams that rose above the play-in tournament and snagged guaranteed
playoff berths.

“The league has gotten better,” Green said. “You’re either getting
better or you’re getting worse. I think the league has improved ... and
it’s going to continue to get better.”

The bell tolls for all who ever tasted the champagne of triumph. It
happens. It happened to the San Antonio Spurs and their great trio: Tim
Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. Happened to the Los Angeles
Lakers when Kobe Bryant tore his Achilles tendon, and Pau Gasol, Derek
Fisher and Metta World Peace were not enough. Happened to the “Bad Boys”
Detroit Pistons of Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars and Dennis Rodman.

The aging process for championship teams is somehow both gradual and
sudden. You see it coming and take pains to deny its existence until
it’s visible to the entire world.

“We obviously understand that the league has changed,” said Curry, who
remains confident that these Warriors are not finished as an NBA power.
“And we’re getting deep into our careers, and we have to evolve, make
the necessary adjustments to win games.”

The last to see a fine NBA team’s decline are those on it. They’re
caught up in the daily battle.

The first to see it are younger, quicker opponents. They were teenagers
during Golden State’s peak and now they’re coming for the franchise that
once dominated the league.

The Warriors, feeling it real time, should know they’re not going to stop.

sport / / NBCSBA (Poole): Warriors' three kings powerless against inevitable reality in loss


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