SAN FRANCISCO -- With Draymond Green serving a one-game suspension and the Golden State Warriors down 2-0 in their first-round playoff series against the Sacramento Kings, they had a clear mindset: Don't feel sorry for ourselves.
"We're winning this because of Draymond," Donte DiVincenzo told ESPN before Thursday's Game 3, which Golden State won 114-97 to bring the series to a 2-1 split.
"Understanding how bad of a decision I think the league made on suspending him, you're frustrated with that," Warriors guard Stephen Curry said. "We have a job to do and there's nothing we can do about it. ... We obviously understand the consequences of if we lost tonight, and nobody wanted to feel that.
"Pretty bluntly, if we lost this game it would be pretty much over. You've got to understand the moment and we gave ourselves life."
The Warriors put together one of their most complete games this season.
"Our guys were locked in yesterday when the news came in and we turned the page pretty quickly," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "There's no need to belabor the point. It's just the league made the decision. You only have one path to take, and that's getting ready for the next one, and that's what our guys did."
Unlike their two games in Sacramento, where the Kings dictated the pace and had the Warriors playing frantically and sloppily, the Warriors controlled the speed Thursday.
They committed just 12 turnovers for seven points, compared with 22 turnovers for 25 points in Game 2. They ended with 19 personal fouls but had just eight through the first three quarters. And even without Green, who is key to facilitating their offense, the team's ball movement was vintage Warriors with 31 assists on 55 passes. Under Kerr, the Warriors are 29-3 when recording 30 assists. One of those three losses came in this series.
"That was the key," Kerr said. "I think the guys understood what that decision-making was doing, forcing Sacramento to play in the half court where we have been making it tough on them throughout the series."
Said Curry: "It's a good lesson for us of how to control each offensive possession, figure out how we can create space and create open looks and win the possession game, which has historically been a good thing for us, considering how highly potent we are offensively."
In Green's absence, Kevon Looney stepped up as a facilitator and the team went 9-for-9 off his passes for 23 points. He also pulled down 20 rebounds, including nine offensive boards. As a team, Golden State finished with 19 offensive rebounds compared with 18 combined in Games 1 and 2.
"He's relentless," Curry said. "He knows how to be effective when he's out there. He's shown it plenty of times before and it was huge. ... Offensive rebounds are usually, once you get the possession, there's going to be somebody open because everybody is kind of scattered. It's just a great look for us to create good offense and then a second chance, everybody is kind of in rhythm and you're stepping in. It's like what the game kind of calls for, and you knock them down."
Curry made three buckets off Looney passes, including one 3-pointer at the end of the first half to tip the momentum heavily in Golden State's favor.
Curry finished with 36 points on 12-of-25 shooting, including six 3-pointers. He added six rebounds, three assists, two steals, one block and committed just one turnover.
On the other end, the Warriors held the Kings to 38% shooting, their worst field goal percentage in a game all season. Sacramento also finished with 97 points, tied for its third-lowest total this season. That total is also tied for the third-fewest points allowed by the Warriors this season.
And that was without their two best defenders.
Heading in, the Warriors understood the importance of Game 3 and the uphill battle they were facing. They still don't believe they've accomplished anything, with Kerr saying after Thursday's win, "Nothing's happened yet. ... Until somebody wins a road game, everybody is just holding serve."
But the Warriors finally looked like themselves for the first time this series and avoided a 3-0 hole. Their season is very much still alive.
Said Curry: "The biggest thing is we've been in a situation where momentum doesn't necessarily carry over from game to game unless you execute at the same level, so it's just one game. But it was a big game for sure."