I’d started this column four different times but in the end it doesn’t matter how you start. It matters how you finish. Just like Tuesday’s Warriors-Kings game was struggle as one could have expected for three quarters & 11 minutes. What a finish!
Not since the Grinch stole Christmas has there been such thievery in December. The Sacramento Kings put a nice big bow on it, wrapped it up beautifully and watched the Warriors steal a win 117-109 in overtime. In a game the Kings led by 14 entering the final quarter and by five with 25 ticks on the clock – with the ball - the Kings somehow found a way to lose.
The two teams came into the game having lost a combined 33 of their past 37 contests. For most of the 2nd half, it seemed the Kings would win for just the 3rd time in 22 games. Down the stretch the Kings were awful. Golden State was opportunistic. Down 102-98, Reggie Williams pulled down an offensive rebound to draw the foul. He made the first free throw but intentionally missed the second. DeMarcus Cousins had the rebound but lost it out of bounds, giving G’State the ball, down three with two seconds on the clock.
Golden State inbounded and found an open Vladimir Radmanovic, who made the most important 3-point shot of his Warriors career. Heck, it seemed like it was the first 3-point shot of his Warriors career. Scoring 13 of his 15 points in the 4th quarter, Radmanovic nailed three 3’s in the final quarter–none bigger, obviously, than the one at the buzzer that sent the game into overtime.
To that point, the Kings proceeded to the following: Cousins traveled. Tyreke Evans threw the ball away. Francisco Garcia missed a 3-pointer. Beno Udrih fouled Reggie Williams taking a three. Williams missed the 1st and 3rd free throw, but Radmanovic got the offensive rebound. Carl Landry, not to be outdone, then fouled Dorell Wright on his 3-point attempt. Wright made 2 of 3 shots to cut the lead to 98-96, Sac-town.
Despite that, the Kings led 102-98 when Williams was fouled by Udrih with 3.4 seconds left. Udrih, who scored a career-high 34 points, should have let Williams score to cut it to 2. By fouling, he allowed Golden State to cut it to three, and miss the 2nd shot intentionally. Radmanovic finished the comeback draining the trey.
In overtime, Monta Ellis took over, scoring 9 of his game-high 36 points in the extra time. This including a driving, over-the-shoulder, left-handed layup that was one of the best shots this season – to put the game out of reach. It was a great way to finish it off; and sometimes that’s all that matters.
About the Author
Written by Scott Johnston
Scott Johnston is a longtime Sports TV Producer/Writer from Los Angeles who now lives just outside of Boston. After a long career at KCAL-TV in L.A., where Scott covered such things as Kirk Gibson’s HR, Hank Gathers death, and Magic Johnson’s retirement, NBA ll-Star Game MVP performance and subsequent return to the NBA. His favorite team is the Oakland A’s and whomever happens to be playing the Yankees, USC or the Cowboys on that particular day. Scott left his staff position at KCAL and formed his own small production company in 1996 while continuing to freelance there and at other stations, including WTTG in DC for two years. His company, ProTVSports, started out covering one team during Spring Training in 1997 but now covers six of the Cactus League teams. He also covers tennis and golf events during the year and has had the privilege of covering 5 NBA Finals, including two of the last three. Scott loves all sports, but considers baseball to be his favorite. He loves politcs, reading, movies and his wife and two daughters—not in that order!