SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – With his big-game swagger on display for the world to see and that signature mouthpiece dangling from a celebratory grin, Stephen Curry fearlessly rode to the basket all afternoon with breathtaking acrobatics and fired with precision from the way back in a Game 7 extravaganza for the ages.
He even playfully pretended to press the button and light the beam, Sacramento style.
Curry scored a playoff career-high 50 points in its most productive Game 7 performance ever and answered again and again to cheer the Warriors on in their quest for a replay, helping Golden State advance to the Western Conference Semifinals with a 120-100 win against the Sacramento Kings in Game 7 with the winner taking all.
Curry also led a memorable series comeback, perhaps even unlikely for the defending champions as they trailed 2–0 and given their road troubles all season.
“It’s amazing because you’re still in the fight,” Curry said. “Better than the alternative of looking in from the outside. With 0-2 down in this series nothing was guaranteed, you don’t take anything for granted.”
Curry’s points are the most in NBA history in a Game 7, surpassing former teammate Kevin Durant’s 48 for the Nets against Milwaukee in 2021.
“For Steph to be the first ever player to hit 50 in a Game 7, he’s sublime,” said coach Steve Kerr.
Kevon Looney grabbed 21 rebounds for a Warriors team that needed to win twice on the road against a hostile, cowbell-ringing crowd in the capital to become the first reigning champion to drop the first two games and win a postseason series.
Bring on LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Semifinals with all that NBA Finals history between James and Golden State dating back to his time in Cleveland. Game 1 is Tuesday night at Chase Center.
Sacramento’s special comeback season is over long before these young kings planned. After a 16-year playoff drought—the longest in NBA history—under Coach of the Year Mike Brown, playoff-starved Sacramento missed out on advancing to the second round for the first time since 2004.
Curry shot 20 of 38 with seven 3s and delivered after nearly every Sacramento big play as Splash Brother Klay Thompson again struggled on both sides. But Thompson came through at some crucial moments.
“What an incredible achievement,” said Thompson. “This is a Game 7 that I will forever remember as the Steph Curry game.”
Malik Monk’s putback and three-point play with 14.6 seconds left in the third brought Sacramento within six, only for Thompson to hit a long 3 and convert a four-point play 91–81 heading into the final 12 minutes.
Domantas Sabonis had 22 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, but the Warriors kept De’Aaron Fox in check as he scored 16 points on 5-for-19 shooting in his third game while playing with a broken index finger on his shooting hand.
Trailing 58-56 at halftime, the Warriors opened the second half with a 13-4 blowout and held the Kings to 42 points after the break.
Sacramento had scored early on with a beautiful combination of classic give-and-go and long jumps with a crisp pass around the perimeter.
But Curry kept coming and Looney kept scrapping to create second and third chances to stage his brilliant run. They sent Kings fans to the exit late in the fourth inning.
Thompson started 1-for-10 and missed his first five 3s before connecting at 9:18 of the third to finish with 16 points on 4-for-19 shooting—”disgusting,” he said—playing stifling defense. Golden State, playing only its fourth Game 7 under Kerr since its 2014-15 title run, was smart on the stretch after 18 turnovers in Game 6 led to 23 Kings points and Kerr called his team “wildly undisciplined.”
Kerr had no doubts for the deciding game – and he went back to Draymond Green in the starting lineup for Game 7 with the season on the line after the fiery forward came off the bench for the previous three games following a Game 3 suspension for stepping on Sabonis .
Just before the final buzzer, Kerr offered a long hug to Brown—the former top Golden State assistant who once coached the Warriors on the postseason stage during Kerr’s extended illness and just spearheaded the Kings’ remarkable turnaround.
“I can’t dream of something like this, I have to see it in person,” Monk said of all the successes. “You can’t dream such a thing unless you do it. I look forward to being back next year.”
LOONEY ON THE COUNCIL
Looney finished with 106 rebounds in the series – 37 on the offensive glass. This was his fifth straight playoff game with double-digit rebounds.
Kings: The Kings shot 12 for 47 on 3s and 37.5% on aggregate. … After the Sacramento bench beat the Warriors 52-21 in Game 6, the reserves came through again – 25-8 in the first half and 41-18 overall.
Warriors: Curry missed consecutive free throws in the second and Thompson couldn’t convert a pair early in the third. Golden State went 19 of 30 off the line after missing 10 free throws in Game 6 (25 of 35). … Gary Payton II blocked four shots. …Golden State had not been in Game 7 since the 2018 Western Conference Finals in Houston, en route to their fourth straight Finals and replay championship. …Golden State improved to 19-0 in playoff series against Western opponents under Kerr.
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