Earlier this month, the Golden State Warriors were four games under .500, and in danger of missing the playoffs for the second straight season. Now, following their 117-113 win over the Sacramento Kings on Sunday night, they're 31-30 and tied for ninth place in the Western Conference. They also gained ground on teams trying to catch them for one of the final play-in tournament spots.
They certainly didn't have an easy time with the pesky Kings in this one, and actually trailed for most of the game. Buddy Hield and Tyrese Haliburton were cooking, the Warriors turned it over 16 times, and Steph Curry didn't make a shot in the fourth quarter. But they found a way to win a close one, which is something they've struggled with at times this season; coming into this one they were 6-9 in games decided by five points or fewer.
CBS Sports HQ Newsletter
Your Ultimate Guide to Every Day in Sports
We bring sports news that matters to your inbox, to help you stay informed and get a winning edge.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox.
There was an error processing your subscription.
And while Curry struggled in the fourth quarter -- most notably he threw a pass right to Hield in the closing seconds that should have given the Kings a wide open layup to take the lead, but Hield bobbled the ball out of bounds -- he put on a show earlier in the night to keep the Warriors in the game.
En route to finishing the night with 37 points, seven rebounds, and four assists, Curry also broke the NBA record for most made 3s in a single month during the regular season. He made seven 3s against the Kings, bringing his total for April to 85. The previous record -- 82 -- was set by James Harden in November 2019.
As usual, Curry was hitting some truly ridiculous 3-pointers. On one possession early in the first quarter, he dribbled the ball off his foot late in the shot clock, ran into the backcourt to retrieve the it, then went behind his back into a step-back from 30-something feet and caught all net. If that wasn't enough, he executed a perfect two-for-one late in the half where he let the ball roll to midcourt, picked it up, took one dribble and rained in a deep three.
When asked about what goes through his head when he's on a shooting streak like this, Curry said there's not a lot of thinking going on.
"When you're in this type of rhythm, nothing," said Curry, via ESPN. "It's the best way to explain it. It's just trying to get a decent look, get your feet underneath you, and then the rest is muscle memory, confidence and just creativity. So just trying to be in the moment as much as possible. When you're missing, that's when you start thinking about mechanics, you start thinking about other stuff. Those thoughts creep in your head. But when you're in a flow, in rhythm, there is not much going on upstairs. It's nice."
There really is nothing like watching Curry shoot when he's in the zone.
As for the Warriors, they've now won seven of their past nine games and are above .500 for the first time since March 20. Thanks to this hot streak they're now tied with the San Antonio Spurs for ninth place in the Western Conference, and are actually only three games back of the sixth-place Dallas Mavericks, who hold the final guaranteed playoff spot.
It's unlikely the Warriors are going to jump multiple teams to get that high in the standings at this point, but they are getting closer to clinching a spot in the play-in tournament. With this win over the Kings, they're 4 1/2 games ahead of the New Orleans Pelicans with 11 games to play.
It's not time to celebrate quite yet, but even with three of those games being against the Pels, that's a pretty safe lead.