Preview of Warriors vs Kings Round 1 Matchup


After a wild, early finish to the final day of the NBA regular season, 12 of the 16 NBA playoff seeds are locked in. Fortunately for the Warriors, after a dominant, soul-crushing performance from the entire team, they defeated the rebuilding Blazers 157-101 on the road, surely giving the Warriors energy and momentum heading into the playoffs. Also, with some help from the Los Angeles Clippers, the Warriors locked in the 6th seed while the Clippers get the 5th seed. Though the Warriors did get the lower seed, it's pretty certain that that's what they were hoping for the entire time, as the 6th seed gets to play the inexperienced, yet young and energized Sacramento King, while the 5h seed gets to the play the Suns, who have CP3, Booker, Ayton, and now a healthy Kevin Durant. With the first round set for the Warriors, let's preview this series dubbed as "the Battle of NorCal".

1. Offensive Brilliance and Defensive Struggles

Both the Sacramento Kings and the Golden State Warriors have the top 3 offenses in the league, where the King's offensive attack primarily revolves around pick-and-roll between Fox and Sabonis while the Warriors' offense is obviously focused on the 3-point shot. With both teams having high-octane offenses, fans are certainly in for a treat. However, on defense, both teams seem to struggle, or be highly inconsistent, throughout the course of the year. On paper, both teams are supposed to be great defensively, as the Kings have a defensive-minded coach in Mike Brown with players full of length and athleticism, while the Warriors historically have had top 5 defenses when Draymond Green is at the helm. However, this season, both teams are far below average on defense, with the Warriors' defensive efficiency at 18th and the Kings' defensive efficiency at 25th. However, the Warriors have shown signs of lockdown defense far more often than the Kings. At home, the Warriors actually have the 3rd best defensive efficiency in the league, but it's just that their defensive efficiency during away games is so atrocious that they somehow drop to 18th in the league when accounting for both home and away defensive efficiency. However, to end of the regular season, the Warriors have shown signs of playing decent defense on the road while still maintaining the high-octane offense, as they have actually won the last 4 out of the 5 away games. 

2. Playoff Experience

The Kings have had a great regular season, historical, in fact, but let's face it: their team overall has almost 0 playoff experience. When it's all said and done, playoff experience matters. Harrison Barnes has had the most playoff experience for the Kings, with the second being Huerter, though he's only had one real playoff run with the Atlanta Hawks. Fox, Monk, and Murray have 0 playoff experience, while Sabonis has only played briefly in the playoffs with the Indiana Pacers, though he's never made it out of the first round.  On the other hand, the Warriors are quite acclimated to the NBA playoff environment. Fun fact, the trio of Curry, Thompson, and Green has had more experience in the NBA Finals than the entire Kings roster has had in the playoffs. Along with that, the Warriors have essentially kept all of the key contributors from last year's run through the likes of GP2, Jordan Poole, Kevon Looney, and Andrew Wiggins, while players like Kuminga and Moody, though young and didn't play much during last year's run but will probably get a lot more minutes this year in the playoffs, still became familiarized with the hardship and intensity of the NBA playoffs. The only true, consistent contributor on this year's Warriors' team that didn't have much experience with the Warriors during the playoffs was Donte Divincenzo, but at the same time, Donte has already been under the brightest lights of basketball, going off for 30+ points during the National Championship in 2018 and being an NBA champion with the Bucks while logging some playoff minutes along the way. In terms of the experience department, the Warriors certainly have the Kings beat. 


Overall, the Kings have had a fantastic season, and as a California native, it truly felt special to watch the Kings have success (such as being historically the best offensive team in over a decade) and camaraderie for the first time in 16 years. However, considering the Warriors' momentum heading into the playoffs, their experienced roster, their championship DNA, and their ability to turn it up when it matters most, the prediction is: Warriors in 6. 

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