The Warriors have played the Kings four times this season, winning by a total of just 12 points after four games.
The Warriors barely escaped with a win over the Kings on Thursday as they topped Sacramento 125-123, causing several Golden State players and coach Steve Kerr to send high praise to their opponents.
“I love their team and love what they are doing,” Kerr told reporters. “I said it before the game, every time we play them it’s high energy and it’s beautiful basketball. They are tough to guard. They put a lot of pressure on you, so who knows what is going to happen down the stretch? A lot of really good teams battling for the playoffs, but they are really good.”
The Warriors have played the Kings four times this season, and each time they have walked away praising the young group after winning by just a slight margin. They have won by a total of just 12 points over the four games, which Elias Sports Bureau notes is the third-smallest margin of victory in a sweep of four-plus games in NBA history. The two first played each other this season Nov. 24 as Golden State won 117-116, then the Warriors won by five Dec. 14 and four Jan. 5.
“That’s the fourth game that we deserved to lose against this team,” forward Kevin Durant said Thursday. “But [we] just figure it out at the end of the games. … Sometimes you’re not going to win it with the team game and the way we always play. Sometimes you’re just going to have to play streetball, you know what I’m saying? I think tonight, throughout spurts of the game, both teams did that.”
Forward Draymond Green went as far as to say there could be a rivalry between the Kings and back-to-back defending champion Warriors in the near future, though he acknowledged it’s not there yet.
“They’re a good team,” Green told reporters. “They’re scrappy, young, probably the fastest team in the history of the NBA. They never quit, got a lot of young talent and they’re putting it all together.
“At some point it’ll definitely be both of us in the playoffs,” he added. “It may happen this year, they’re right there, maybe not. We’ll see, but it’s coming soon. As far as a rivalry, man, they’re talented. I think rivalry, no disrespect to them, but the other team got to win some games before it can really be a rivalry. But I have no doubt in my mind that that team is going to win a lot of games coming up here soon. Maybe not this year, who knows? But they’re putting it together, they’re doing a damn good job.”
The Warriors improved to a 42-16 record with Thursday’s win to stay at the top of the Western Conference, while the Kings fell to 30-28 and are sitting ninth in the West.