SACRAMENTO -- David Lee wasn’t hearing any of it.
“The gas is always up, our gas is fine, don’t worry about that,” the Golden State Warriors’ forward said with a blend of humor and emphasis.
The Warriors, playing their eighth road contest in nine games, had their worst defensive game of the season in a 131-127 loss to the host Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night.
While the team doesn’t allow excuses to cloud losses, logic says that eventually the car will run out of gas, even if it just a short trip to Sacramento.
The loss in Sacramento came on the second night of a home-road, back-to-back, following Tuesday night’s home win against New Orleans that followed a season-long, seven-game road trip.
Lee acknowledged that even the 90-minute bus trip to Sacramento still has the same road feel, but to the tune of Mark Jackson’s team mantra, he won’t let an excuse cloud a loss.
“It probably didn’t help that we played yesterday, but we’re not going to use that as an excuse,” said Lee, who scored 29 points and tallied eight rebounds and five assists.
“We need to have more energy than we did and it showed, not so much on the offensive end but defensively.”
It was Golden State’s worst defensive effort of the season, as the team allowed a season-worst 131 points on 50 percent shooting. The Warriors previous worst defensive effort came on Nov. 18 in Oklahoma City when they allowed 119 points to the Thunder.
Jackson wouldn’t even entertain the thought of weary legs after extended road games, making a point in his postgame news conference to directly answer any questions of fatigue with the simple adage: “We’re a no-excuse basketball team.”
The Warriors trailed by as many as 14 points in the fourth quarter, but came back to lead 117-114 with 4:33 remaining in the game.
Playing down to the competition
With the Warriors’ last three losses coming to teams below .500, the Warriors coach was asked if perhaps his team was playing down to the competition.
“That’s comical, man,” Jackson said. “We are a team that can be beaten by the best and can be beaten by the worst. We need to play our brand of basketball to stay successful and when we don’t we can be disappointing.”
Warriors surge behind Curry
On the same night they allowed the most points of the season, the Warriors also scored a season-high 127 points. Jarrett Jack scored 28 points and had seven rebounds off the bench.
Trailing 104-90 early in the fourth quarter, the Warriors took the lead with 6:23 remaining in the fourth quarter at 112-111 on one of Stephen Curry’s seven three-pointers.
The Warriors star guard, with 32 points on the night, fouled out with just more than two minutes remaining and the game tied at 118-118. Curry shot 8-for-14 in the second half, after a cold 3-for-10 first half. Curry added six rebounds and four assists.
Kings hang on
The Kings gained separation in the final moments with three-pointers by Aaron Brooks and Marcus Thornton and held on in the final minutes.
The Kings had seven players in double-digits, led by a team-high 24 points by DeMarcus Cousins. Aaron Brooks added a season-high 23 points for Sacramento.
The Warriors trailed most of the game until the fourth quarter, falling behind early 33-24 at the end of the first quarter after shooting 38.5 percent. Jarrett Jack showed guts on a wide-open, pull-up three-pointer in transition to cut the lead to 109-106 with 7:20 remaining.
The Warriors fell behind early, trailing 33-24 at the end of the first quarter after shooting 38.5 percent.
Offensive effort inside goes wasted
When the Warriors stayed patient, they had no problem finding looks in the paint on one-timers. But they also couldn’t defend the key, and they were outscored 50-44 in the paint.
Golden State outrebounded the Kings 42-40. Usually winning the rebound battle is a telling sign of a win, but the Warriors now fall to 16-2 when securing more rebounds than their opponent.
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