June 3, 2023

Great Indian Mutiny

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Why the Warriors-Kings NBA first-round playoff series must happen

Warriors vs. Kings in the playoffs? Yes please. By all possible means. Teams need it, regions feel it and it’s a practically perfect first-round match.

And after Golden State’s shocking 119-97 victory over a emaciated version of the Kings Friday night in Sacramento, we’re one step closer to reality.

The Kings are tied for the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference, and the Warriors — assuming the Clippers beat two teams without motivation — are one win away from clinching the No. 6 seed that would put the teams on a collision course next weekend. The Warriors are currently in fifth place, but will drop back to sixth after the Clippers’ expected win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday.

Fortunately, the Warriors-Kings playoff series won’t look like the city league display hoops that are on display most of the evening at the Golden 1 Center. With three Sacramento starters battling injuries that will be overlooked in the postseason, the Warriors worked overtime to keep the Kings at bay. In the game until the fourth quarter.

Once the legitimate stakes are in place, the factors that would make this series ready to engage and entertain go beyond the obvious geography.

“That would be amazing,” Klay Thompson told reporters Friday night when asked about the idea for the Warriors-Kings series. “I don’t know when this ever happened. Did it happen? Yeah, that would be something special for Northern California. The Kings have had great fans. We’ve got great fans. Mike B made them play hard. That would be really great for Northern California,” he said. And it’s a hot spot for basketball right now. And it would be great to travel. That would be very cool. That would be really cool.”

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There has only been one NBA champion in Northern California, the Warriors, who have won five, including four in the past eight years, since moving from Philadelphia 61 years ago.

royalty? It has never been closer than the 2002 Western Conference Finals, which ended with the indescribable heartbreak of losing a Game 7 to the Lakers in the musty old Arco Arena.

The Kings are new to the playoffs, and the Warriors consider the postseason their home.

Warriors gained a giant slab of global prestige. The Kings would like to take a bite of that.

There the familiar, Mike Brown became a head coach in Sacramento after six seasons as an assistant under Steve Kerr with the Warriors. The Browns smuggled several Warriors employees into Sacramento, including assistant coaches Leandro Barbosa and Luke Luks.

This would be a revenge series for Harrison Barnes, a starter on Golden State’s 2015 championship team, but one year later he was dumped like a damp paper towel when the Warriors chased down and caught Kevin Durant.

The only person who might want to have it more than Barnes is Vivek Ranadev, who went from minority stake in the Warriors to royal ruler of the Kings.

And let’s face it, the players who are the core of the Warriors – Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson – have spent most of their illustrious careers looking down on the humble Kangs. There was no Bay Area hate because, well, the team up from I-80 north was irrelevant.

no more.

Therefore, the competition will be suitably fierce.

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The Sacramento starters who were sidelined Friday — All-Star Daron Fox, All-Star Domantas Sabonis and pitcher Kevin Huerter — will swap streetwear for jerseys next week. They will open the playoffs at home.

Related: Where the Warriors stand in the playoff picture after their win over the Kings

Which means Golden State will play its first two games on the road. If the Kings aren’t challenging enough, and they are, the Warriors will also have to grapple with those pesky demons that only appear when they leave the Chase.

Warriors-Kings will activate the two fan bases more than either of them against any other team.

do it. Generate competition, even if only in the embryonic stage.

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