The Golden State Warriors will put their season-opening winning streak on the line at a site where they haven’t won since January 2019 when they visit the Sacramento Kings on Sunday night.
The game matches two of the NBA’s top 3-point shooters, with Golden State’s Stephen Curry and Sacramento’s Buddy Hield already having made headlines in the early going en route to each recording 10 3s in two games.
Eight of Curry’s 10 came in Thursday’s 115-113 home win over the Los Angeles Clippers.
In a crowd-pleasing performance in which Curry made five straight 3s in a 25-point first quarter, he saved his most important two for the final 1:54, helping the Warriors pull out a narrow win in a game they led at one point by 19.
“There’s never been anybody like him,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr gushed after his star’s 45-point night. “Those last two 3s were ridiculous. I’m still blown away.”
One night later, Hield rewrote the Kings’ record book with some 3-point magic of his own. His first of six in a 110-101 home loss to the Utah Jazz on Friday was the 1,071st of his career, breaking a tie with Peja Stojakovic for the most in Kings franchise history.
“Peja’s one of the all-time great shooters in our league,” Kings coach Luke Walton said. “For Buddy to do it this quickly (at age 28) speaks to the type of shooter he is.”
Walton will be attempting to prevent something Sunday that he had a hand in creating six years ago, the last time the Warriors began a season 3-0.
With Kerr sidelined with a bad back, Walton, a Warriors assistant coach at the time, moved over a seat on the bench and led Golden State to a record 24-0 start in 2015.
Kerr holds a 12-6 head-to-head edge over the fellow University of Arizona alum since Walton became head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers for three seasons. He is now in his third year with the Kings.
The Warriors haven’t won at Sacramento since Walton was hired there, losing 111-98 in January 2020 and 141-119 last March. Golden State was without Curry (bruised tailbone) and Draymond Green (rest) in the latter drubbing.
Sunday’s meeting will provide a reunion for Warriors newcomer Nemanja Bjelica, who played 2 1/2 seasons for Sacramento before getting dealt to Miami last March on the same day as the Golden State visit.
The veteran forward didn’t play in that game, but he did contribute eight points and 10 rebounds to the Kings’ 2020 home win over Golden State.
Bjelica has been the Warriors’ most productive new face this season, averaging 10.5 points and 8.5 rebounds off the bench, shooting 9-of-12 from the field.
Meanwhile, Golden State will get its first look at guard Davion Mitchell, the former Baylor standout who was selected by the Kings ninth overall in July, two spots after the Warriors opted for Jonathan Kuminga.
Mitchell, considered a defensive specialist, has started slowly offensively, totaling just five points on 2-for-14 shooting. He has missed all six of his 3-point attempts so far.
Kuminga has yet to debut for the Warriors after suffering a strained right patella tendon during the preseason.