Rob Issa, FISM News
The defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors are down 2-0 in a playoff series for the first time with Stephen Curry.
De’Aaron Fox scored 24 points to lead the Sacramento Kings to a 114-106 win Monday night in Game 2 of their best-of-seven Western Conference playoff series.
Curry scored 28 points and Andrew Wiggins added 22 for the Warriors, who return home for Game 3 on Thursday night.
“Got to embrace it,” Curry said. “You do this for as long as we have … we have to stay together and locked in.”
Golden State forward Draymond Green was ejected for a flagrant foul against Domantas Sabonis. Green stomped on Sabonis’ chest with 7:03 to play, causing fans to scream derogatory words while officials reviewed the play.
“My leg got grabbed,” Green said. “Second time in two nights. Referees just watch it. I’ve got to land my foot somewhere. I’m not the most flexible person, so it’s not stretching that far. … I can only step so far.”
Green faces a potential suspension for his actions.
“It was a flagrant-2 for sure,” Kings coach Mike Brown said. “It’ll be interesting to see what the NBA does after they review it.
The Warriors rallied to tie the game but couldn’t get past the Kings. Fox nailed a 3-pointer to extend Sacramento’s lead to 107-101 and the Kings pulled away.
“They played better than we did down the stretch,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “They played more physical than us tonight.”
The Kings hadn’t reached the playoffs in 16 seasons before earning the No. 3 seed.
“I think that brought us together,” Fox said about Green’s stomp on Sabonis. “We huddled up and were like, ‘We have to win this game.’ Everybody thought he’d be ejected. When that happens, usually that team comes together and goes on a run. But we were able to negate that.”
76ERS WIN AGAIN
In Philadelphia, the 76ers took a 2-0 series over the Brooklyn Nets with a 96-84 win on Monday night.
Tyrese Maxey scored 33 points, including six 3-pointers, and Joel Embiid had 20 points and 19 rebounds as the No. 3 seed 76ers took a commanding lead. Game 3 is Thursday night in Brooklyn.
“A lot of people think I just love scoring the basketball,” Embiid said. “I don’t think it’s true. I enjoy winning.”
Embiid got plenty of help from his teammates, especially Maxey. Tobias Harris added 20 points and 12 rebounds and James Harden followed up a sensational performance in the series opener with eight points, five rebounds, and seven assists.
“Better teammates help,” coach Doc Rivers said. “Maturity and preparation. We work on it every day.”
Cam Johnson led the Nets with 28 points, including a one-handed dunk over Embiid. Mikal Bridges had 21.
“We held Embiid under his average,” Nets forward Dorian Finney-Smith said. “They were just the best team tonight. They found a way to pull it out.”
The Nets led 49-44 at halftime before the Sixers stormed back in the third quarter to take control of the game.
“As bad as we played offensively we were only down five points,” Maxey said. “We knew if we could get our offense to catch up to our defense, and continue to be stingy on defense, we knew we had a shot.”
The Sixers are chasing their first NBA championship since 1983. They’ve won six straight playoff series against the Nets, who overhauled their roster during the season.
Brooklyn traded stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant weeks apart and three-time All-Star Ben Simmons is out for the season with a knee injury. Bridges has developed into Brooklyn’s top player but the Nets have been overmatched in the first two games.