Casspi’s career-high 36 not enough for Kings

Israeli swingman goes toe-to-toe with reigning MVP Curry, but Golden State prevails over Sacramento.

By
December 30, 2015 03:40
3 minute read.
Israel forward Omri Casspi leaps for a layup

Israel forward Omri Casspi leaps for a layup. (photo credit: FIBA EUROPE WEBSITE)

Omri Casspi announced his arrival as a real star on the national US stage on Monday night after scoring a career-high 36 points and squaring off with the reigning MVP Stephen Curry in remarkable fashion in Oakland.

The 27-year-old Israeli hit 13-of-18 field goal attempts, including 9-of-12 from three-point range, while also taking six rebounds in 35 minutes on court.

That wasn’t enough to help the Sacramento Kings avoid a 122-103 defeat against defending champions Golden State Warriors, who improved to 29-1 on the season.

Nevertheless, Casspi’s performance will not be forgotten quickly, especially his 21-point barrage in the second quarter in which he connected on all six of his attempts from distance. Casspi’s seven first half threes marked the most in one half in Kings history, with his nine total treys tying Mike Bibby for the franchise record for most three-pointers in a game.

Casspi is averaging career bests of 12.9 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists through 30 games this season, scoring 1.9 three-pointers a game at a sizzling 48.7 percent.

The most memorable part of Casspi’s night came in the final three minutes and 15 seconds of the first half when he traded three-pointers with Curry to the amazement of everyone watching.

Casspi scored four triples to Curry’s five, with the two combining for 29 of the game’s 31 points during that stretch.

Such was Casspi’s display that his name was trending on Twitter for over three hours following the game.

“Omri Casspi was going and it turned into a show,” said Warriors interim coach Luke Walton. “The fact that Omri got going is definitely part of the reason why Steph turned it up.”

The sixth-year forward also set a Warriors franchise record for most three-pointers made by an opponent in a half with seven.

“That last four minutes of the second quarter was crazy,” said Kings head coach George Karl. “Casspi made one from 26 [feet], Curry made one from 30 and Casspi made one from 32, and then Curry made one from 35. I don’t know how far out they were, but they looked like they were way out. It took a long time to get to the rim. Everyone was in the bottom. It was great.”

Despite his unforgettable night, Casspi refused to rejoice.

“I’m not really happy about it,” Casspi said. “We lost.”

The Warriors became the seventh team in NBA history to win at least 33 consecutive regular-season home games – a feat last accomplished by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, who won an NBA-record 44 in a row.

They got 23 points, a career-high 14 rebounds and 10 assists from Curry, who played only 30 minutes – including 8:09 at the same time as his brother, Seth. It was the first time they were on the court together in an NBA game, and the fans barely noticed because of everything else.

Klay Thompson had 29 points for his ninth 20-point game in the past 11, and Draymond Green added 25 points on 5-for-7 three-point shooting.

Sacramento went ahead 43-32 on a three-pointer by Casspi, but after he missed his first six shots, including five three-point tries, Curry scored 17 points in the half’s final 3:16. He finished the half with 17 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, trimming the Warriors’ deficit to 61-58 by the break.

Sacramento star DeMarcus Cousins appeared headed to the bench with five fouls three minutes into the third quarter, but he ended up being ushered to the locker room instead. Cousins went ballistic after his fifth foul, drawing technical fouls from both Monty McCutcheon and Mitchell Ervin, and the Kings never recovered, despite Casspi’s best efforts.

TNS contributed to this report.


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