SACRAMENTO, Calif. – As the referees went to the replay monitor to determine whether Draymond Green should be ejected for his hard stomp, the Sacramento Kings took that time to regroup and make sure they didn't lose focus down the stretch.
De'Aaron Fox and crew took over from there and delivered the Kings a 2-0 series lead that has the defending NBA champions reeling.
Fox scored 24 points and made a backbreaking 3-pointer that led the playoff newcomer Kings to a 114-106 win Monday night for their second straight victory over the Golden State Warriors.
“I think that brought us together,” Fox said. “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.”
The Kings closed the game strong after Green was ejected for a flagrant foul against Domantas Sabonis. They became the first team to take a 2-0 series lead over the Warriors in the Stephen Curry era.
The Warriors will try to get back into the series when it shifts less than 90 miles southwest to San Francisco 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.”
The game got heated in the fourth quarter when Green stomped on Sabonis' chest with 7:03 to play, leading to an ejection for a flagrant foul
During the review, fans in Sacramento yelled derogatory chants toward Green, who egged them on by waving his hands, holding a hand to his ear calling for louder cheers and standing on a chair.
“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.”
Sabonis finished the game but coach Mike Brown said he was undergoing X-rays afterward to make sure there wasn't damage to his ribs or lungs.
Now it will be up to the NBA to determine whether an ejection is all that was warranted or if Green will face a possible suspension.
“It was a flagrant-2 for sure,” Brown said. "It’ll be interesting to see with what the NBA does after they review it.
The Warriors fought back to tie the game before the Kings went on a 17-8 run to run away with it to the delight of the towel-waving crowd.
Fox's 3-pointer made it 107-101 with 2:17 to play and the Kings were in control from there. Davion Mitchell put it away with another 3 that made it 112-103 with 1:18 left.
“The big 3 in the corner was honestly the nail in the coffin,” Fox said of Mitchell's shot.
Sabonis added 24 points for Sacramento, and Malik Monk scored 18 off the bench.
Curry led the Warriors with 28 points but shot just 3 of 13 from 3-point range as Golden State struggled to get going offensively. The Warriors committed 22 turnovers.
“They played better than we did down the stretch,” coach Steve Kerr said. “They played more physical than us tonight.”
The crowd in success-starved Sacramento wasn't quite as loud at the start as in the series opener when fans celebrated the franchise's first playoff game following a record drought of 16 seasons.
The crowd started to get into it in the second quarter thanks to another spark off the bench from Monk, who scored 32 points in the opener. Monk hit three 3-pointers in the first 2:04 of the period to help fuel a 23-8 run that turned a six-point deficit into a nine-point lead.
Golden State fought back and tied it on a 3 by Curry before allowing the final six points of the quarter to trail 58-52 at halftime.
The Kings built the lead to 14 points in the third quarter before the Warriors scored eight in a row. Sacramento led 83-75 heading into the fourth.
The teams got off to a sloppy start with each committing nine turnovers in the first quarter. The 18 combined turnovers in the first period were the most in any game in more than six seasons and the most in a playoff game since at least the 2001-02 season.
The Kings also missed their first 11 3-pointers before Fox made one late in the first.
Warriors: Andrew Wiggins was back in the starting lineup in his second game back following an absence of more than two months to deal with an undisclosed family matter. Wiggins scored 22 points. ... Golden State committed five fouls in the first 1:42 of the third quarter.
Kings: Sacramento's 41 points in the second quarter marked the eighth time a team scored at least 40 in one quarter of a playoff game against the Warriors in Kerr's tenure.