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Warriors ride hot first-half stretch to beat Kings, 121-96, sweeping 4-game season series

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SACRAMENTO, California — Pick a category: Defense. Shooting. Ball movement. Efficiency. Togetherness.

In four games this season, the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings showed in just about every way how much of a difference there is between the NBA's Northern California clubs.

Stephen Curry had 23 points and nine assists, and the Warriors rode a 23-0 spurt in the first half to beat the Kings 121-96 on Tuesday night, sweeping the season series for the second straight year.

"They want to be all machos over there, but we just come out here and play our game. We always come out with a win," said Warriors reserve Marreese Speights, who finished with 17 points and eight rebounds before fouling out.

Golden State shut down Sacramento for more than seven minutes at the end of the first quarter and start of the second quarter to take an 18-point lead. The Warriors went ahead by 21 at the half and 25 in the third quarter, then held off a brief Kings comeback.

Things got physical and feisty, at times, on the court. But none of it seemed to faze the visitors.

The Warriors had 33 assists and 11 turnovers, while the Kings had 17 assists and 18 turnovers. Golden State outshot Sacramento 50.5 percent to 44.3 percent and outscored Sacramento's bench 61 to 12.

"I love the box score. I love having a lot of different guys scoring and not having all the points concentrated on a few guys," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "It just makes us hard to guard."

Sacramento snapped its eight-game losing streak with a win at Indiana on Saturday and had hoped to carry the momentum home.

Instead, about the only thing the Kings accomplished was quieting Klay Thompson — who had 14 points — after he scored an NBA-record 37 points in the third quarter and finished with 52 in Golden State's last game against Sacramento on Jan. 23.

DeMarcus Cousins had 26 points and 11 rebounds, and Rudy Gay scored 20 for the Kings, who rallied within 11 late in the third quarter before the Warriors regrouped.

"Basically, their bench came in and did a great job," Cousins said. "They pushed the game ahead and made it tough for our whole team."

It was quite a way for the NBA-leading Warriors (38-8) to begin a stretch of four games in five nights, including three on the road. In all, five of their last six games before the All-Star break are away from home.

PHOTO: Golden State Warriors forward David Lee, left, and Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins vie for a rebound during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game  in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015. The Warriors won 121-96. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Golden State Warriors forward David Lee, left, and Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins vie for a rebound during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015. The Warriors won 121-96. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Golden State fell behind 22-14 with 4:43 remaining in the first quarter before smothering Sacramento (17-30) for a stunningly prolonged stretch.

The Warriors held the Kings scoreless for more than seven minutes and without a field goal for more than 8 ½ minutes. Sacramento missed 10 consecutive shots and committed five turnovers until Jason Thompson's short jumper with 9:38 left in the second quarter.

The Warriors rolled into the half up 63-42, kept their pace-and-space attack moving after the break and moved ahead by 25 points in the third quarter.

Cousins helped Sacramento slice that lead to 11 late in the third before the Warriors got hot again. Curry hit a 3-pointer in the closing seconds of the quarter and the Warriors built back a big lead.

SILVER IN SACRAMENTO

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver attended the game. He was in town to tour Sacramento's future downtown arena, which is scheduled to open for the 2016-17 season.

HALFTIME SHOW

Rapper Flo Rida performed at halftime. The Kings dance team participated in his on-court show.

TIP-INS

Warriors: It was Golden State's NBA-best 19th game with at least 30 assists. ... Backup center Festus Ezeli after sitting out the last 18 games with a sprained left ankle. He had five rebounds and two points in eight minutes.

Kings: Sacramento dropped to 6-17 since firing Michael Malone as coach. ... Reserve big man Reggie Evans was inactive.

UP NEXT

Warriors: Host Dallas on Wednesday.

Kings: Host Dallas on Thursday.

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Photo Gallery:
PHOTO: Sacramento Kings guard Ben McLemore, left, goes up for a dunk over Golden State Warriors forward David Lee during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game  in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015. The Warriors won 121-96. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
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