KINGS BEAT WARRIORS 114-106 TO TAKE 2-0 SERIES LEAD
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) As the referees went to the replay monitor to determine whether Draymond Green should be ejected for his hard stomp, the Sacramento Kings took that time to regroup and make sure they didn’t lose focus down the stretch.
De’Aaron Fox and crew took over from there and delivered the Kings a 2-0 series lead that has the defending NBA champions reeling.
Fox scored 24 points and made a backbreaking 3-pointer that led the playoff newcomer Kings to a 114-106 win Monday night for their second straight victory over the Golden State Warriors.
“I think that brought us together,” Fox said. “We huddled up and were like, ‘We have to win this game.’ Everybody thought he’d be ejected. When that happens, usually that team comes together and goes on a run. But we were able to negate that.”
The Kings closed the game strong after Green was ejected for a flagrant foul against Domantas Sabonis. They became the first team to take a 2-0 series lead over the Warriors in the Stephen Curry era.
The Warriors will try to get back into the series when it shifts less than 90 miles southwest to San Francisco for Game 3 on Thursday night.
“Got to embrace it,” Curry said. “You do this for as long as we have … we have to stay together and locked in.”
The game got heated in the fourth quarter when Green stomped on Sabonis’ chest with 7:03 to play, leading to an ejection for a flagrant foul
During the review, fans in Sacramento yelled derogatory chants toward Green, who egged them on by waving his hands, holding a hand to his ear calling for louder cheers and standing on a chair.
“My leg got grabbed,” Green said. “Second time in two nights. Referees just watch it. I’ve got to land my foot somewhere. I’m not the most flexible person, so it’s not stretching that far. … I can only step so far.”
Sabonis finished the game but coach Mike Brown said he was undergoing X-rays afterward to make sure there wasn’t damage to his ribs or lungs.
Now it will be up to the NBA to determine whether an ejection is all that was warranted or if Green will face a possible suspension.
“It was a flagrant-2 for sure,” Brown said. “It’ll be interesting to see with what the NBA does after they review it.
The Warriors fought back to tie the game before the Kings went on a 17-8 run to run away with it to the delight of the towel-waving crowd.
Fox’s 3-pointer made it 107-101 with 2:17 to play and the Kings were in control from there. Davion Mitchell put it away with another 3 that made it 112-103 with 1:18 left.
“The big 3 in the corner was honestly the nail in the coffin,” Fox said of Mitchell’s shot.
Sabonis added 24 points for Sacramento, and Malik Monk scored 18 off the bench.
Curry led the Warriors with 28 points but shot just 3 of 13 from 3-point range as Golden State struggled to get going offensively. The Warriors committed 22 turnovers.
“They played better than we did down the stretch,” coach Steve Kerr said. “They played more physical than us tonight.”
The crowd in success-starved Sacramento wasn’t quite as loud at the start as in the series opener when fans celebrated the franchise’s first playoff game following a record drought of 16 seasons.
The crowd started to get into it in the second quarter thanks to another spark off the bench from Monk, who scored 32 points in the opener. Monk hit three 3-pointers in the first 2:04 of the period to help fuel a 23-8 run that turned a six-point deficit into a nine-point lead.
Golden State fought back and tied it on a 3 by Curry before allowing the final six points of the quarter to trail 58-52 at halftime.
The Kings built the lead to 14 points in the third quarter before the Warriors scored eight in a row. Sacramento led 83-75 heading into the fourth.
The teams got off to a sloppy start with each committing nine turnovers in the first quarter. The 18 combined turnovers in the first period were the most in any game in more than six seasons and the most in a playoff game since at least the 2001-02 season.
The Kings also missed their first 11 3-pointers before Fox made one late in the first.
Warriors: Andrew Wiggins was back in the starting lineup in his second game back following an absence of more than two months to deal with an undisclosed family matter. Wiggins scored 22 points. … Golden State committed five fouls in the first 1:42 of the third quarter.
Kings: Sacramento’s 41 points in the second quarter marked the eighth time a team scored at least 40 in one quarter of a playoff game against the Warriors in Kerr’s tenure.
MAXEY, EMBIID, HARRIS POWER 76ERS TO 96-84 WIN OVER NETS
PHILADELPHIA (AP) Joel Embiid pumped his fist in the air and exhorted the Philly crowd to get louder as Tobias Harris and Tyrese Maxey hit game-changing 3s and stymied Brooklyn runs with clutch boards.
“It’s as happy as I’ve ever seen him since I’ve been here with other guys making shots,” third-year coach Doc Rivers said. “He was really celebrating his teammates tonight.”
With good reason. For a franchise player who was raised in the organization to Trust the Process, Embiid has finally come around to learning how to trust his teammates.
Maxey hit six 3-pointers and scored 33 points, Embiid and Harris had 20 apiece, and the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Brooklyn Nets 96-84 on Monday night to take a 2-0 lead in their Eastern Conference playoff series.
Embiid, the two-time NBA scoring champion, was quiet offensively, going 6 of 11 from the floor, but he did just about everything else. The MVP finalist had 19 rebounds, seven assists and three blocks.
“A lot of people think I just love scoring the basketball,” Embiid said. “I don’t think it’s true. I enjoy winning.”
Embiid’s increased faith in his teammates is one reason the third-seeded Sixers expect a deep run in the playoffs.
“Better teammates help,” Rivers said with a laugh. “Maturity and preparation. We work on it every day.”
Harris had 12 rebounds. James Harden scored only eight points on 3-of-13 shooting for the Sixers after a sensational Game 1 effort.
Game 3 is Thursday in New York.
Cam Johnson led the Nets with 28 points. Johnson sent Embiid stumbling on a one-handed dunk down the right side that posterized the 7-footer. Johnson stared down Embiid as the Nets forward backpedaled on defense in the first half.
“I don’t remember getting dunked on,” Embiid tried to say with a straight face.
The slam was Brooklyn’s last GIF-worthy highlight.
Maybe the 76ers just needed to listen to their coach more as they chase their first NBA championship since 1983.
After Brooklyn scored the first bucket of the second half, Rivers called a quick timeout.
“C’mon, guys! C’mon!” Rivers implored in the huddle. “Listen, it’s up to y’all what you all want to do.“
How about finally decide the game.
“It was time for us to realize we need to be ready,” Harris said of the timeout speech. “We need to pick our energy up. We need to pick our body language up. This is our arena. This is our home floor. This is our win that we need to get.”
Maxey, who kept the Sixers alive with 15 points in the first half, was stuffed by the rim on a fast break but Harris followed for the bucket and the 76ers finally tied the game at 55-all. Maxey didn’t miss on the next possession – a corner 3 that sent the crowd into a frenzy.
Then PJ Tucker missed a 3, grabbed his own rebound, dished to Harden and the Beard buried his first 3 of the game. Harris came right back and connected on a 3 that had him hopping and waving his arms off the court headed into a timeout.
Embiid then erupted in celebration with the Sixers ahead 64-56.
“We didn’t play our best basketball but in the second half we just figured out what worked and we kept doing it over and over and over,” Embiid said.
Philly’s scoring spurt was about it for the Nets, who shot 35% in the second half.
“The only adjustment made was that ball didn’t go in the hole for us,” Nets coach Jacque Vaughn said. “We got open looks, they tried to go zone, we had enough shooting out there. The ball just didn’t go in.”
The Sixers needed the spark after they spiraled from Game 1 dominance to Game 2 disaster in the first half.
No Sixer represented that fall more than Harden. His seven 3s steadied the Sixers in the opener but the aging vet – who battled left Achilles tendon soreness down the stretch of the regular season – was overwhelmed in Game 2. He missed 6 of 7 shots in the first half and all four 3-point attempts. Throw in two fouls and five turnovers and it was a marvel the Sixers only trailed 49-44 at the break.
“As bad as we played offensively we were only down five points,” Maxey said. “We knew if we could get our offense to catch up to our defense, and continue to be stingy on defense, we knew we had a shot.”
Holding only a slim lead had to distress the Nets. Johnson scored 22 points in the half but – much like in Game 1 – the Nets got crushed on the boards and in the paint. Embiid scored eight points but grabbed 15 boards, 13 defensive.
Embiid, who wore a “Best Dad Ever” sweatshirt at the podium after his young son tagged along with him after Game 1, made up for some offensive frustration with a two-handed jam late in the game that brought the crowd to its feet.
“We held Embiid under his average,” Nets forward Dorian Finney-Smith said. “They were just the best team tonight. They found a way to pull it out.”
Nets: Have lost six straight playoff games to the 76ers. … Mikal Bridges scored 21 points after he had 30 in Game 1.
76ers: Embiid’s 15 rebounds were the most by any 76ers player in a playoff half in the last 25 seasons. … Maxey made 13 of 25 shots.
The Sixers went 2-0 at Brooklyn this season and 4-0 against the Nets overall.
NBA PLAYOFF SCHEDULE
***MILWAUKEE BUCKS (1) VS. MIAMI HEAT (8)
GAME 2: HEAT VS. BUCKS | WED., APRIL 19 | 9 ET (NBA TV)
GAME 3: BUCKS VS. HEAT | SAT., APRIL 22 | 7:30 ET (ESPN)
GAME 4: BUCKS VS. HEAT | MON., APRIL 24 | TBD
*GAME 5: HEAT VS. BUCKS | WED., APRIL 26 | TBD
*GAME 6: BUCKS VS. HEAT | FRI, APRIL 28 | TBD
*GAME 7: HEAT VS. BUCKS | SUN., APRIL 20 | TBD
***BOSTON CELTICS (2) VS. ATLANTA HAWKS (7)
GAME 2: HAWKS VS. CELTICS | TUES., APRIL 18 | 7 ET (NBA TV)
GAME 3: CELTICS VS. HAWKS | FRI., APRIL 21 | 7 ET (ESPN)
GAME 4: CELTICS VS. HAWKS | SUN, APRIL 23 | 7 ET (TNT)
*GAME 5: HAWKS VS. CELTICS | TUES., APRIL 25 | TBD
*GAME 6: CELTICS VS. HAWKS | THURS., APRIL 27 | TBD
*GAME 7: HAWKS VS. CELTICS | SAT., APRIL 29 | TBD
***PHILADELPHIA 76ERS (3) VS. BROOKLYN NETS (6)
GAME 3: 76ERS VS. NETS | THURS., APRIL 20 | 7:30 ET (TNT)
GAME 4: 76ERS VS. NETS | SAT., APRIL 22 | 1 ET (TNT)
*GAME 5: NETS VS. 76ERS | MON., APRIL 24 | TBD
*GAME 6: 76ERS VS. NETS | THURS., APRIL 27 | TBD
*GAME 7: NETS VS. 76ERS | SAT., APRIL 29 | TBD
***CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (4) VS. NEW YORK KNICKS (5)
GAME 2: KNICKS VS. CAVALIERS | TUES., APRIL 18 | 7:30 ET (TNT)
GAME 3: CAVALIERS VS. KNICKS | FRI., APRIL 21 | 8:30 ET (ABC)
GAME 4: CAVALIERS VS. KNICKS | SUN., APRIL 23 | 1 ET (ABC)
*GAME 5: KNICKS VS. CAVALIERS | TBD
*GAME 6: CAVALIERS VS. KNICKS | TBD
*GAME 7: KNICKS VS. CAVALIERS | TBD
***DENVER NUGGETS (1) VS. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES (8)
GAME 2: TIMBERWOLVES VS. NUGGETS | WED., APRIL 19 | 10 ET (TNT)
GAME 3: NUGGETS VS. TIMBERWOLVES | FRI., APRIL 21 | 9:30 ET (ESPN)
GAME 4: NUGGETS VS. TIMBERWOLVES | SUN., APRIL 23 | 9:30 ET (TNT)
*GAME 5: TIMBERWOLVES VS. NUGGETS | TUES., APRIL 25 | TBD
*GAME 6: NUGGETS VS. TIMBERWOLVES | THURS., APRIL 27 | TBD
*GAME 7: TIMBERWOLVES VS. NUGGETS | SAT., APRIL 29 | TBD
***MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES (2) VS. L.A. LAKERS (7)
GAME 2: LAKERS VS. GRIZZLIES | WED., APRIL 19 | 7:30 ET (TNT)
GAME 3: GRIZZLIES VS. LAKERS | SAT., APRIL 22 | 10 ET (ESPN)
GAME 4: GRIZZLIES VS. LAKERS | MON. APRIL 24 | TBD
*GAME 5: LAKERS VS. GRIZZLIES | WED., APRIL 26 | TBD
*GAME 6: GRIZZLIES VS. LAKERS | FRI., APRIL 28 | TBD
*GAME 7: LAKERS VS. GRIZZLIES | SUN., APRIL 30 | TBD
***SACRAMENTO KINGS (3) VS. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (6)
GAME 1: SACRAMENTO 126 GOLDEN STATE 123
GAME 3: KINGS VS. WARRIORS | THURS., APRIL 20 | 10 ET (TNT)
GAME 4: KINGS VS. WARRIORS | SUN., APRIL 23 | 3.30 ET (ABC)
*GAME 5: WARRIORS VS. KINGS | WED., APRIL 26 | TBD
*GAME 6: KINGS VS. WARRIORS | FRI., APRIL 28 | TBD
*GAME 7: WARRIORS VS. KINGS | SUN., APRIL 30 | TBD
***PHOENIX SUNS (4) VS. LA CLIPPERS (5)
GAME 2: CLIPPERS VS. SUNS | TUES., APRIL 18 | 10 ET (TNT)
GAME 3: SUNS VS. CLIPPERS | THURS., APRIL 20 | 10:30 ET (NBA TV)
GAME 4: SUNS VS. CLIPPERS | SAT., APRIL 22 | 3:30 ET (TNT)
*GAME 5: CLIPPERS VS. SUNS | TUES., APRIL 25 | TBD
*GAME 6: SUNS VS. CLIPPERS | THURS., APRIL 27 | TBD
*GAME 7: CLIPPERS VS. SUNS | SAT., APRIL 29 | TBD (TNT)
* IF NECESSARY