Kendra AndrewsESPN3 minutes of reading
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The The Golden State Warriors punched their ticket to the Western Conference semifinals with a 120-100 win over the Sacramento Kings in Game 7 of their first-round series.
And it’s all thanks to Stephen Curry.
Curry exploded for 50 points on 20-of-38 shooting — the most points scored in a Game 7 in league history. Curry became the first player in Warriors history to score 40 points in a Game 7. He scored 17 runs in the fourth match.
Curry had little help in the first half, as Klay Thompson was 1-of-10 and Jordan Poole scored just five points. In the first 24 minutes, the Warriors were outplayed by the Kings. But they trailed by just two runs at halftime.
Finally midway through the third quarter, the Warriors woke up. They slowed the Kings down on defense, controlling the pace and attempting 10 more shots. Thompson gave the Warriors a timely boost — he and Curry scored or assisted on 30 of the Warriors’ 35 third-quarter points.
Golden State grabbed 23 rebounds to Sacramento’s nine, including 13 offensive rebounds, tied for the most they’ve had in any quarter in the last 20 regular or postseason games. Again, Kevon Looney was a game-changer, grabbing 10 of the Warriors’ third-quarter rebounds on the offensive glass.
Looney’s presence on the boards was a defining factor for the Warriors — not only in Game 7, but throughout the series, where the edge of the glass was crucial in every game.
Game 7 mirrored the entire Golden State series: Missing five of their first 3-pointers, they lost early. Meanwhile, the kings were cooking. But somehow, the warriors were close. When it mattered, they piled down enough to close the door.
Golden State was the 22nd defending champion trailing 2-0 in the best-of-7 series. The win made them the fifth team to come back and win the series. The Warriors are now 1-9 in the best-of-7 series, where they trail 2-0 all-time.
They will now face the Los Angeles Lakers in the conference semifinals, with Game 1 being played Tuesday at the Chase Center.