The Golden State Warriors did not deserve to beat the visiting Sacramento Kings, who were playing without All-Star point guard De'Aaron Fox, on Wednesday. They committed a million turnovers. Steph Curry had his worst game of the season. Chris Paul scored two points. They lost the free-throw battle (big surprise there).
Didn't matter. With the final seconds bleeding down and the Warriors trailing by one, Klay Thompson, who had struggled for most of the night himself, took a pass from Draymond Green, took two dribbles to his left, and called game with pull-up jumper that left just 0.2 seconds on the clock -- not enough for Sacramento to get off a real shot on its end.
Final score: Warriors 102, Kings 101.
It's hard to put too much emphasis on a win this early in the season, but that's a big one. In the Western Conference they're all big, but for the Warriors to rack one in the win column on a night when they didn't play well, that's the sign of a serious team, even if the way they played for much of the night looked, well, pretty unserious.
The million turnovers was an exaggeration, of course. But it felt like that many. They committed 18. Curry had seven by himself. And these weren't the overzealous, if understandable, "trying to make a play" kind of turnovers; these were the classic Warriors "are they even awake?" type of turnovers. Every team has games like this. Most teams lose when it happens. The great teams win without their best stuff.
Nobody's calling this Warriors team great. Way too early for that. But there are good signs. They've already won three games on the road, where they were almost impossibly terrible last season. Paul has been great. Moses Moody and Jonathan Kuminga are real rotational guys now. Curry, this relative stinker aside, has opened the season on an MVP-level heater.
It speaks to Curry's ongoing greatness that his worst game of the season comes with the following stat line: 21 points on 7-of-15 shooting with four 3-pointers at a 40% clip, not to mention the go-ahead bucket with 33 seconds left, which was erased by a Domantas Sabonis straight-on bank-shot jumper on the other end. But by his standards, he really was bad.
Curry has bailed the Warriors out plenty over the years. On Wednesday, Thompson bailed him out. Klay has the perfect mentality -- never dwelling on previous missed shots, unflappably confident that the next one is going in -- to take, and make, these huge shots. He's hit five go-ahead shots with under 10 seconds to play in his career. Three of them have come against the Kings.
The Warriors are now 4-1 on the season. The Kings fall to 2-2, with both losses coming against Golden State.