LOS ANGELES: Defending champion Golden State saw Kevin Durant sidelined for two weeks, Israeli forward Omri Casspi hurt and their bid to overtake Houston for the NBA’s best record falter Friday (Saturday in Manila) with a 98-93 loss to Sacramento.
Buddy Hield came off the Sacramento bench to score 22 points to lead the Kings against a struggling Warriors squad without Durant and star guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
Before the game, Durant was put onto the injured list with a rib cartilage fracture and set for re-evaluation in two weeks.
The reigning NBA Most Valuable Player ranks sixth among all NBA scorers this season with 26.6 points a game. Durant also averages 6.8 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.9 blocked shots a game.
Golden State was also without Curry, out with a sore right ankle, and Thompson, sidelined by a broken right thumb. Both will be evaluated next week.
Joining the injury list was reserve Casspi, who sprained his right ankle landing on a rival’s foot in the second quarter after playing only six minutes.
Golden State’s Quinn Cook scored a career-best 25 points in 40 minutes on the court and Draymond Green added 14 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.
But the Kings (23-47) closed the game on an 11-3 run to capture their first back-to-back wins since late January.
That dropped Golden State to 52-17 and 2 1/2 games behind Western Conference leader Houston for the best record in the NBA.
With injuries nagging them and the Rockets showing no sign of misfiring, the Warriors might not be able to overtake Houston for the overall playoff home-court edge.
“It’s a harrowing experience — I’m just trying to process it all,” joked Warriors coach Steve Kerr. “Second in the conference would just be devastating.”
Then he turned serious, trying to put the injuries and best-record chase into perspective.
“We’re not really paying too much attention to the standings. We are just playing,” Kerr said.
“We’re in a good position big picture no matter what happens because our injuries are all relatively minor. We’re very hopeful and confident that we’ll have everybody back when it counts.”
That means when the playoffs start April 14.