Beam Team Gets a Huge Dub!

Beam Team Kings beat Warriors
Loading the Elevenlabs Text to Speech AudioNative Player...

They did it! The Sacramento Kings finally managed to light the beam against their big brother, The Golden State Warriors, after dropping the last 11 of 12 regular season matchups. In doing so, the Beam Team also secured a knockout stage berth in the NBA In-Season Tournament, going 4-0 in the group stage and securing home-court advantage against the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday, December 4.

But most importantly, as Stan Van Gundy put it during the TNT broadcast on November 28, “the Kings needed to prove to themselves they could beat the Warriors.” And they did! So how did they get the job done? With some key subtractions, some key additions, and a dizzying number of foul calls on both sides.

Key Subtractions

The Sacramento Kings definitely earned this win. But we can’t ignore the fact that The Golden State Warriors were missing a couple of essential players.

Chris Paul left the game early in the 1st quarter, while Gary Payton II walked off the court late in the 3rd quarter, both with apparent leg injuries. To take CP’s place, the Warriors had to call upon Cory Joseph, who’s been solid for the Dubs this year when they’ve needed him. But he’s still no Chris Paul.

Gary Payton II

For Gary Payton II, there really is no substitute. The guy is a one-of-a-kind hustle player, a defensive force who was causing all kinds of problems for the Kings, as he does against just about every team. And coming down the stretch of this game, the Kings’ offense was looking noticeably more comfortable. Not having GP2 on the floor made it difficult for the Warriors to slow down the Kings’ momentum as they completed the 24-point comeback.

Still, for all the adversity the Warriors faced in that game, let’s not forget that the Kings were missing arguably their third-best player, Keegan Murray, who has now missed the past 4 games with an injury.

Key Additions

With Murray out and Domantas Sabonis struggling—finishing the game with a relatively pedestrian 9-8-10 stat line—the Beam Team needed someone to step up. Two unlikely heroes did so in big ways: Trey Lyles and Sasha Vezenkov.

Murray Lyles Vezenkov

Lyles was playing in just his third game of the season, coming back from an injury that had kept him out of the lineup until recently. He’s still getting his legs back a bit, but he definitely reminded everyone how important he is for this team. One of the categories the Kings usually struggle with when playing the Warriors is rebounds. To be quite honest, a lot of the time it just kind of seems like Kevon Looney wants the boards more than Sabonis.

But Trey Lyles was having none of that. When he was on the floor, he was a beast on the glass, battling hard under the rim. And while he finished with only 6 rebounds, they were big rebounds—not just because of when they occurred or the points they resulted in, but because his effort on those plays injected the Kings with some much-needed energy and confidence.

In a similar manner, Sasha Vezenkov, the rookie who came over from the Euro League, finished with modest numbers but came up big in huge moments down the stretch. Vezenkov has been pretty inconsistent this year and has played correspondingly inconsistent minutes. But he’s had flashes of brilliance, and the 4th quarter of this game against the Warriors was a clear example of that. Vezenkov hit a couple of key 3-pointers and had some really nice contests on defense. Shoutout to him for stepping up when the Beam Team needed him most.

Soooo Many Whistles

The Warriors had one key addition in this game as well: Draymond Green, who entered back into the lineup following a 5-game suspension served for practicing his MMA moves on the Timberwolves’ Rudy Gobert. And while he was looking pretty scary at first, uncharacteristically hitting two 3-pointers in the 1st quarter, he did fizzle out a bit as the game went on. He also picked up a technical foul in the 4th quarter that gave the Kings a precious extra point at a critical moment. Draymond giveth, and Draymond taketh away.

Dray Ref Whistle

Speaking of fouls, this game was absolutely bananas. The amount of whistles was staggering. The 3rd quarter, in particular, was borderline unwatchable, with time winding down at a snail’s pace due to all the stoppages. And when the final whistle was blow at the end of the game, a total of 72 free throws had been taken. While the Kings shot an abysmal 27/42 from the line, it was 1 more make than the Warriors’ 26/30. And that one point is all the Kings needed to win this 124-123 nail-biter (that, or the one point from Draymond’s tech—take your pick). Oh yeah, and De’Aaron Fox put up 29 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists. That always helps.

I’m proud of the Beam Team for finally getting over the hill and besting the Dubs in a game that was about as meaningful as it gets in November. And I’m hyped to see what they can do the rest of the way through the NBA In-Season Tournament!

Leave a Reply

More on thepeachbasket