Stephen Curry described the Golden State Warriors' In-Season Tournament elimination as a 'tough pill to swallow' after their crushing 124-123 defeat to the Sacramento Kings.
The Kings avenged last season's playoff elimination at the hands of their rivals with a dramatic fightback win on Tuesday, with an off-balance Malik Monk hitting a fadeaway with seven seconds left to hand them a memorable victory.
That came after Golden State led by four with just 46 seconds remaining, and the Warriors wasted one last chance for victory after Monk's shot as Curry missed a three-pointer at the buzzer.
The Warriors had needed a 12-point win to advance from West Group C and led by 24 points at one stage, and the last-gasp nature of their defeat – their first in three games against Sacramento this season – infuriated Curry.
"It's going to be tough to swallow just because we should have won that game," he said.
Final from Sacramento pic.twitter.com/b3PufnlpI3— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) November 29, 2023
"We played well enough to win for 40 minutes, and knowing the stretch we've been on, we were really motivated.
"You get to the finish line and you end up losing. It's a tough pill to swallow, it's frustrating. We've all got to look ourselves in the mirror."
While the Warriors have now lost eight of their last 10 games and are 8-10 for the campaign, the Kings will host the New Orleans Pelicans next Monday in the last eight of the inaugural In-Season Tournament.
Sacramento's De'Aaron Fox, who matched Curry's game-high 29 points, said: "We want to win. Obviously, our fans want us to beat Golden State.
"A game this close, coming back from being down 24, you want to win regardless of if it's a tournament game or not.
"This league is a game of runs. You just try to win as many segments as you can to win the game.
"We want to get to Vegas and be one of the first teams to advance to the final four of the In-Season Tournament."
The #BeamTeam tonight vs. the Warriors— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) November 29, 2023
Saw three players (Huerter, Fox, Monk) score 20+ points
Grabbed 12 offensive rebounds
Outscored the Warriors 50-38 in the paint
LIGHT THE BEAM pic.twitter.com/nZAukdXz0c