NBA

'We knew what was on the line' – Kings had to overcome Warriors 'hurdle', says Fox

By Sports Desk April 17, 2024

D'Aaron Fox said the Sacramento Kings knew exactly was on the line when they went up against the Golden State Warriors.

The Kings came out on top 118-94 on Tuesday, progressing to a meeting with the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday as Sacramento aim to make the playoffs.

Sacramento, who were led by Keegan Murray's 32 points, lost to the Warriors in the first round of the playoffs last year.

And Fox and his teammates knew exactly how important gaining a measure of revenge was this time around.

"We knew what was on the line," said Fox, who scored 24 points for the Kings.

"This was just another obstacle in our way. We have to get over this hump.

"Obviously, losing to this team last year and obviously facing this team now, it's like, of course we have to face this team."

The Warriors, meanwhile, have now missed out on the playoffs for the third time in the past five seasons.

"I was a sophomore in high school watching them win championships [four titles between 2015 and 2022]," Fox said.

"We've been watching this team for a long time. If it is the end, it is what it is. I'm glad we're able to beat this team at this moment, but they definitely had a hell of a run."

Stephen Curry managed 22 points for the Warriors, but he admitted Golden State were second-best.

He said: "For the most part, they just took it to us the whole game. There's really no way around it."

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    Minnesota trailed 53-38 at half-time – the largest deficit a Game 7 winner has overcome in NBA post-season history.

    Asked what went wrong in the second half, Malone did not have too many answers.

    "That's what's hard," Malone said. "F*** being up 20. Season's over. It's hard."

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    "The better team won, so I'm taking nothing away from Minnesota ... but mentally, emotionally, physically, I think guys are gassed. They're dead tired.

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    Denver dropped the first two games of the series at home but won the next three to get themselves back on track to challenge for a repeat NBA title.

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    Minnesota rallied from a 20-point second-half deficit to come through with a shocking 98-90 road victory in Sunday's Game 7 of a Western Conference semifinal to deny Denver a chance at a second straight league title.

    Karl-Anthony Towns and Jaden McDaniels each scored 23 points, while Anthony Edwards recovered from a dismal first half to put up 16 points as the third-seeded Timberwolves advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2004. Minnesota will host the fifth-seeded Dallas Mavericks, who ousted the No. 1 seed Oklahoma City Thunder in six games, in Game 1 on Wednesday.

    The Timberwolves' 15-point half-time deficit was the largest a Game 7 winner has overcome in NBA post-season history.

    Minnesota trailed 53-38 at half-time and fell further behind when the second-seeded Nuggets scored the first five points of the third quarter, then began finding its stride to reverse momentum.

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    League MVP Nikola Jokić amassed 34 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists while accounting for 14 of the Nuggets' 23 points in the fourth quarter. 

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    The New York Knicks couldn’t keep up with the Pacers’ scorching shooting and couldn’t recover after losing their best player.

    The Pacers shot an NBA playoff-record 67.1 per cent from the floor in Sunday’s 130-109 win at Madison Square Garden to eliminate the Knicks.

    Tyrese Haliburton led the way with 26 points, while Pascal Siakam and Andrew Nembhard each scored 20 for Indiana, which advanced to face the top-seeded Boston Celtics on Tuesday.

    The sixth-seeded Pacers, who had lost Games 1, 2 and 5 at Madison Square Garden, are in the East finals for the first time since 2014, when they lost to the Miami Heat.

    Trying to reach the conference finals for the first time since 2000, the Knicks played the final quarter without Jalen Brunson after he suffered a fractured left hand.

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    Indiana shot a blistering 76.2 per cent in the first quarter, connecting on 16 of 21 shots – including 7 of 9 from 3-point range – to take a 39-27 lead after 12 minutes.

    Haliburton led the early onslaught, draining four 3-pointers and scoring 14 points in the opening period, while Siakam made his first five shots and had 11 first-quarter points.

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    OG Anunoby returned to the starting lineup after missing the last four games, but played just five minutes before aggravating his strained left hamstring and sat out the rest of the game.

    By failing to close out the Pacers, it’s now been 24 seasons without an appearance in the conference finals for the Knicks – the third-longest active drought in the NBA behind the Washington Wizards (45) and Charlotte Hornets (34).

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    Shortly later, the New York Knicks' season ended.

    Brunson sustained a broken left hand and sat out the fourth quarter in the Knicks' 130-109 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Sunday.

    With the win, the Pacers reached the Eastern Conference finals, where they'll face the top-seeded Boston Celtics.

    Brunson, who had averaged 31.8 points and 5.7 assists in the first six games of the series against Indiana, had 17 points on 6-of-17 shooting and nine assists before exiting.

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