SACRAMENTO -- The Warriors liked the resiliency they showed. And their execution down the stretch. They even liked the look guard Klay Thompson got, a pull-up from about the free throw line area, for the potential game-winner.
What they didn't like was the hole they dug themselves into Monday, eventually resulting in a 94-92 loss to the Sacramento Kings.
"Like I told my guys, you don't win or lose the game on those last shot attempts," coach Mark Jackson said. "One defensive rebound, one less turnover ... one extra effort play where they don't get a wide-open layup in transition. That's the difference between winning and losing the ballgame, not the last play."
The Warriors nearly stole a road victory after playing poorly most of the game. By forcing turnovers and crashing the boards, they fought back from 16 down in the third quarter to have a chance to win it in the final seconds.
A runner by Kings guard Aaron Brooks, with 1:16 remaining, put Golden State down 93-88. But center Andrew Bogut, who scored six points down the stretch, answered by dropping a 10-foot push shot from the baseline.
The next time down, Brooks missed on a driving layup. Thompson got the rebound, was fouled, and cut the lead to 93-92 with 31.3 seconds left by making both free throws.
Golden State got another stop when an off-balance seven-footer by Kings center DeMarcus Cousins bricked and Thompson secured the rebound. The Warriors had the ball with 10.9 seconds left and a chance to go 3-0 on the road for the first time since 1994-95.
They dumped the ball down to Bogut, who found Thompson after he'd curled around a couple of screens. Thompson's pull-up, much like several of his 10 misses Monday, looked good on the release. But it wasn't.
"For a second I thought it was in, but it hit back rim," Thompson said. "It was really disappointing. It's going to be a long bus ride back. It's going to be a long night. And you can bet I'm going to think about that for a long time. ... I guarantee I will be in that position before the year ends, so I'm not going to dwell on it that long. But it definitely hurts."
Golden State had one last hope, with eight-tenths of a second left after two free throws by Kings forward James Johnson. But point guard Stephen Curry's heave at the buzzer clanked.
The Warriors can take solace in the fact that they had a chance to win. They shot 39.7 percent from the field, including Curry's 3-for-15 shooting performance. They were bullied a bit by Sacramento, which out-rebounded the Warriors and won the points-in-the-paint battle. Cousins finished with 23 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Kings.
But Warriors players talked only about how they didn't put together a complete game.
"It was cool to see we had some resiliency, to fight back into the ballgame," backup point guard Jarrett Jack said. "They're a little pumped up. It was their home opener. We could've packed it in, kind of shied away from them. But we stepped up to the challenge, fought back to get ourselves into the ballgame. But the fact of the matter is we should have never put ourselves in that position in the first place."
Back-to-back baskets by Cousins put the Warriors down 56-46 early in the third quarter. But Golden State ran off 10 straight to tie the game at 56, capped by a 3-pointer from Curry at the 8:42 mark.
Sacramento retook control of the game with a 16-0 run, led by Cousins and a parade to the free throw line. Golden State trailed 75-64 entering the fourth quarter and was down 89-78 with 4:11 remaining. That's when the Warriors finally came alive.
Forward David Lee (20 points, six rebounds) dropped in a hook. Moments later, Curry drilled a 3-pointer in transition. The Kings' lead was down to 89-84.
Lee got the Warriors the ball back by taking a charge, which led to a layup by Thompson, pulling the Warriors to within three with 2:10 left in the game. Brooks and Bogut traded scores until the Warriors finally got a stop. If Thompson's jumper drops, it would have been a coup for Golden State.
"They outworked us early on. That's what it boiled down to," Jackson said. "They were the hardest-working team on the floor. The good thing is that we realized when we did put forth the effort and we execute, we climbed back into the ballgame. So imagine if we put together 48 minutes of that."
He was fairly productive, converting 5 of 7 attempts for 12 points to go with three rebounds and a block. But at times he looked to be limping and in pain.
"I'm not really going to comment on (my progress) right now because I have a lot more work to do to get to a level where I play 40 minutes," Bogut said. "Conditioning wise, I don't feel too bad. That's getting better every game. But the ankle is still a work in progress."