Stephen Curry scored 32 points but gave Sacramento a late chance when he called a timeout Golden State didn’t have, and the defending champion Warriors held on to beat the Kings 126-125 on Sunday when Harrison Barnes missed a three-pointer at the buzzer, evening their playoff series at two games apiece.
De’Aaron Fox had 38 points, nine rebounds and five assists for Sacramento. His three-pointer with 28.7 seconds left pulled the Kings within one, and then Curry missed a 16-foot jumper on the other end and Keegan Murray corralled the rebound. With Curry and Draymond Green defending, Fox dished to former Warrior Barnes for the potential game-winning three, which hit the back of the rim.
Golden State led 126-121 with 42.4 seconds left when Curry called the excessive timeout, and Malik Monk made the technical free throw for Sacramento. Klay Thompson made a baseline three-pointer to beat the third-quarter buzzer and another with 3:24 left, finishing with 26 points for the Warriors.
Game 5 in the best-of-seven series is Wednesday night at Sacramento’s Golden 1 Center.
Green came off the bench after serving a one-game suspension while the Warriors dominated Thursday’s Game 2 without him. Given the momentum and success, coach Steve Kerr stuck with Jordan Poole in the starting five Sunday.
Green made a nifty behind-the-back pass for a Curry three midway through the fourth, then swatted a shot by Domantas Sabonis with 1:37 left.
Green, disciplined for stepping on Sabonis’ chest in the fourth quarter of Game 2, checked in to a rousing ovation with 6:38 left in the opening quarter and wound up with 12 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. He and Fox picked up double technicals at the 5:43 mark of the first.
Sabonis added 14 points, seven rebounds and eight assists and now heads home determined to get the Kings closer to winning their first playoff series since eliminating Dallas in the 2004 first round.
In Sunday’s earlier game, Jalen Brunson scored 29 points, RJ Barrett had 26 and the Knicks took a 3-1 lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers in their first-round series with a 102-93 victory.
Josh Hart moved into the starting lineup and added 19 points and seven rebounds for the fifth-seeded Knicks, who can reach the second round for the first time since 2013 with a victory in Cleveland on Wednesday.