SAN FRANCISCO — Stephen Curry scored 36 points, Kevon Looney matched his career high with 20 rebounds to go with nine assists, and the Golden State Warriors got right back in their first-round playoff series by thumping the Sacramento Kings, 114-97, in Game Three on Thursday night (Friday, Manila time) to pull within 2-1.
As suspended star Draymond Green watched from home, the defending champions dominated without him as they have done so many times before. The fiery forward was suspended without pay for stepping on the chest of Domantas Sabonis in the fourth quarter of Monday's Game Two at Golden 1 Center. The Warriors also were without key defensive stopper Gary Payton II after the guard became ill on Wednesday.
Curry shot 12 for 25 with six 3s while Andrew Wiggins added 20 points and seven rebounds for the Warriors, who never trailed and will now try to even the best-of-seven series in Game 4 on Sunday back on their home court at Chase Center.
Sabonis, who grabbed Green's foot during the play in question, was booed at every chance. The big man underwent tests that revealed a bruised sternum but was able to practice Wednesday and cleared to play. He had 14 rebounds by halftime and 16 total to go with 15 points. But Golden State's smothering interior defense led to some spectacular plays on offense.
De'Aaron Fox was 5 for 14 in the first half for 12 points but finished with 26 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists for the Kings. Fox scored 62 in the first two games.
Jordan Poole — playing on a tender left ankle — started in Green's place and had 16 points and five rebounds, while the Warriors also counted on contributions from Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody and Donte DiVincenzo.
Looney, who led the NBA in offensive rebounds and played in his 218th straight game, corralled a key board from the offensive glass that led to Curry's 3 to beat the halftime buzzer and make it a double-digit Warriors lead at 53-41.
Harrison Barnes added 17 points against his old team for Sacramento, whose fans were told to leave those noisy cowbells at home because they're banned at Chase Center. Warriors fans were raucous in their own right sporting yellow "Gold Blooded" t-shirts and pounding Thunderstix.
Leading into Game 3, Golden State coach Steve Kerr shared with the team his favorite John Wooden quote of all time: "Be quick, but don't hurry." That's a mantra he challenged the Warriors to use to take better shots and be more careful with the ball to limit turnovers.
He felt the Warriors had been in a hurry and committing unforced turnovers, rushed to make a play.
They seemed like their old selves in this one.
NBA Coach of the Year Mike Brown, who received a shipment of new Vans sneakers, warned of what might happen if his team let down even in the slightest: "If we're overconfident we're going to get our behinds handed to us because these guys are champions."
Curry and Co. made sure of that.
E-40 IS BACK
Rapper E-40 returned courtside for Game Three fashionably late and fashionable.
The hip-hop star whose real name is Earl Stevens alleged "racial bias" after being kicked out of Game 1 at Sacramento's Golden 1 Center. He and the Kings put out a joint statement Wednesday explaining there was a 'miscommunication' and said it was an "unfortunate misunderstanding" between both parties.
"We're OK, can't complain," he said Thursday of being satisfied with the Kings' response.
Curry and E-40 shared a celebratory embrace shortly after the final buzzer as Curry made his way to the tunnel.
Kings: The Kings were outrebounded 60-53. ... Sacramento shot 11 for 46 on 3s. ... The Kings made it to the free-throw line just eight times in the initial two quarters and 23 for the game.
Warriors: Wiggins had a memorable second-quarter sequence with a block then 3-pointer moments later. ... Moody had a three-point play and dunk over a sizzling 38-second stretch late in the third putting Golden State up 76-63 and finished with 13 points. ... In a quiet outing, Klay Thompson had 13 points on 5-for-15 shooting but hit two timely shots down the stretch.