Kings oust Warriors from play-in, advance to face Pelicans

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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

The chants of "Light the Beam" started midway through the fourth quarter as the Sacramento Kings kept piling on the Golden State Warriors.

A year after having their season ended by their Northern California neighbors, the Kings dealt the Warriors a bit of payback in emphatic fashion with a victory that might have signaled the end of a dynasty.

Keegan Murray scored 32 points andDe'Aaron Fox added 24 as the Kings stayed alive in the play-in tournament, eliminating the Warriors 118-94on Tuesday night.

"We knew what was on the line," Fox said. "This was just another obstacle in our way. We have to get over this hump. Obviously losing to this team last year and obviously facing this team now, it's like, of course we have to face this team."

Sacramento advanced to playat theNew Orleans Pelicanson Friday night with a chance to return to the playoffs as the 8-seed in the Western Conference after snapping an NBA-record 16-year playoff drought last season.

The Kings avenged a Game 7 loss at home to Golden State in last year's first round by playing cleaner and being quicker to loose balls against the older Warriors in what was one of the most consequential wins for the franchise in two decades.It was also the Kings' largest victory over the Warriors since Feb. 21, 2006.

The defeat kept Golden State out of the playoffs for the third time in the past five seasons, including two eliminations in the play-in tournament. The Warriors committed 16 turnovers and gave up 15 offensive rebounds and way too many open 3-pointers. And they looked nothing like the dynastic team that won four titles from 2015 to 2022.

"I was a sophomore in high school watching them win championships," Fox said. "We've been watching this team for a long time. If it is the end, it is what it is. I'm glad we're able to beat this team at this moment, but they definitely had a hell of a run."

Klay Thompson missed all 10 shots from the field in what could have been his final game with the Warriors as he heads to unrestricted free agency this summer and a potential breakup of the championship trio of Thompson, Stephen Curry and Draymond Green.

With Thompson struggling, Curry didn't get nearly enough help. Curry finished with 22 points but was hounded for much of the game by Keon Ellis.

The undrafted Ellis, who was on a two-way contract until February, put up 15 points to go with his strong defense. Harrison Barnes added 17 points for Sacramento, whileDomantas Sabonis registered 16 points and 12 rebounds.

"For the most part, they just took it to us the whole game," said Curry, who scored 50 points in the seventh game of last year's first-round meeting between these regional rivals separated by less than 90 miles. "There's really no way around it."

Tuesday's crowd was loud from the start, even if the energy didn't quite reach the level of the 2023 series when Kings fans celebrated the end of the long playoff drought.

Murray made 8 3-pointers -- including four in the first quarter -- and the Kings built their lead to 16 points in the second quarter before the Warriors rallied behind their bench to cut the deficit to 54-50 at the half.

Golden State got within one point early in the third quarter before Sacramento responded with a 19-5 run keyed by a pair of 3-pointers from Ellis and more big shots from Murray to build its advantage back to 15 points. The Kings were never threatened after that.

"The first play was for me, and we just kind of kept going to that early on in the game," Murray said. "When your shot is falling, especially when mine is falling, they always seem to find me."

ESPN Stats & Information and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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