Golden State Warriors vs. Sacramento Kings
Line: Golden State -5.5
Where: Chase Center, San Francisco, California
When: Thursday, 4/20 at 10:00 p.m. ET
No. 6 Golden State will try to get back off the mat when it faces No. 3 Sacramento at home on Thursday night.
The defending champions dropped the first two games of the Western Conference series in Sacramento, and they suffered another blow in Monday’s 114-106 setback. Veteran Draymond Green was ejected and later suspended for Game 3 when he stomped on the chest of Sacramento’s Domantas Sabonis, who is ‘questionable’ with a sternum contusion.
“I think that brought us together,” Sacramento guard De’Aaron 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.”
Sabonis averaged 19.1 points and 12.3 rebounds per game during the regular season, so this situation could ultimately hurt Sacramento more than Golden State. However, the betting market seems to think Sabonis will wind up playing on Thursday night.
Oddsmakers opened Golden State as a 7.5-point home favorite, but the early betting action pushed that line down to -5.5 following Green’s suspension. The total opened at 238.5 points before bumping up to 240 as of late this morning.
Sacramento became the first team to take a 2-0 series lead against the Warriors during the Stephen Curry era. Golden State fought back to tie the game before allowing a 17-8 run when the Kings took control down the stretch.
“Got to embrace it,” Curry said. “You do this for as long as we have…we have to stay together and locked in.”
Curry led the Warriors with 28 points in Game 2, but he shot just 3 of 13 from 3-point range in a game when Golden State committed 22 turnovers. The teams combined for 18 turnovers in the first quarter, which was the most in a playoff game in more than 20 years.
Andrew Wiggins returned to the Warriors’ starting lineup in his second game back following an absence of more than two months due to an undisclosed personal matter. He scored 17 points in Game 1 and 22 points in Game 2, sitting behind Curry (29.0) and Klay Thompson (21.0) as Golden State’s scoring leaders in the series.
The Warriors finished second in the regular season in scoring (118.9) behind the Kings (120.7). Sacramento ultimately had too much firepower in both home games, with Fox averaging a team-high 31.0 points and Malik Monk adding 25.0. Fox had 24 points, nine assists and five rebounds on Monday to match Sabonis for the team-high in points.
Despite going well ‘over’ the total in the series opener, they went way ‘under’ the number in Game 2. Sacramento has cashed the ‘under’ in five of its last six games, including four of its last five games against Western Conference opponents. The Kings went ‘under’ at a 26-15 clip in their road games during the regular season.
Golden State was the fourth-worst road team in the NBA this season, but it went 33-8 at home. The Kings were a profitable road team though, going 27-14 against the spread, covering in 11 of their last 13 road games. They are winless in their last six trips to Golden State.
The pick: Kings +6 (DraftKings and Caesars)
I came into this series with confidence that the value was on Sacramento to win the series, and that suspicion has been confirmed thus far. There is no reason to back away from the Kings now, especially when the betting market will continue to give the defending champions the benefit of the doubt. Sacramento has shown it can beat Golden State in two types of games—the Kings won a shootout in Game 1 before coming up clutch in a low-scoring, emotional Game 2. They have covered in 11 of their last 13 road games, and most signs are pointing toward Sabonis playing in this game. Curry and Thompson are always capable of getting red-hot at home, but Sacramento is the lower-variance value play again in Game 3.