While the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors were perhaps destined to be rivals, due to their geographic proximity to one another (Sacramento and San Francisco are less than two hours away from each other by car), this rivalry — which is among the oldest in NBA history — has turned into something more than a Northern California turf war in recent years. In fact, the upcoming 2023-24 season could represent a crucial tipping point in this rivalry; a passing of the torch, of sorts. Or maybe not. Either way, any Kings vs. Warriors game this season is sure to be exciting — and not just because both teams boast an array of All-Star caliber players.
In this article, we’ll examine the Kings and Warriors head to head history, the background to their rivalry, notable past matchups, and what to expect from their face-offs in 2023-24.
Kings vs Warriors Head to Head History
The Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors franchises have played each other a total of 415 times. Of those, the Warriors hold the edge in games won, by a count of 219-196. Remarkably, these two teams have only faced each other one time in the playoffs (which came last year). Thus, Golden State also holds a narrow 4-3 edge in playoff matchups.
The first matchup between these two historic franchises came on November 11, 1948, when the Rochester Royals (an early iteration of the Kings) beat the Philadelphia Warriors, by a score of 83-75. The most recent Kings vs. Warriors matchup was on April 30, 2023, when the Warriors beat the Kings 120-100.
Sacramento holds the longest win streak within the rivalry, having beat the Warriors 14 straight times at one point. The next matchup between the two teams will take place on October 27, 2023.
Kings vs Warriors Rivalry Background
Although this rivalry has beocome an intense on-court competition in recent years, its roots will always be based in geography. Both teams are two of the oldest franchises in league history — yet, neither franchise started in California, where they reside today. For the Warriors, they joined the NBA in 1946, being based in Philadelphia. However, once the Warriors ownership noticed the Giants’ Major League Baseball franchise relocate to San Francisco in 1957 and increase their market share, they decided to do the same. So in 1962, the Philadelphia Warriors moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, and have never looked back.
The Kings franchise was founded in 1923, as the Rochester Seagrams in New York. After their 1951 championship, the Kings endured unstable ownership for the next thirty or so years, and relocated multiple times during that stretch; including to Cincinnati in 1957, Kansas City and Omaha in 1972, and finally to Sacramento in 1985 — joining the Warriors as the two NBA franchises in the Northern California Market.
For the vast history of their time in California, neither the Kings nor Warriors experienced much playoff success. While that has changed in a big way for the Warriors in the last decade, the Kings had continued to struggle up until a couple years ago. For this reason, 2023 marked the only time that two teams have ever faced each other in the postseason. Luckily for fans, this first matchup was one to remember.
Kings vs Warriors Notable Past Matchups
After the Sacramento Kings produced a 48-34 record during the 2022-23 regular season and earned the #3 seed in the Western Conference for the 2023 playoffs, and the Warriors (who won an NBA Championship one season before) went 44-38 and earned the #6 seed in the Western Conference, the two teams were matched up in the first round.
In Game 1 in Sacramento, the Kings rallied behind a 38-point performance from DeAaron Fox, their star point guard, to win a thrilling game by a score of 126-123. Then Fox and his teammate, Domantas Sabonis, each scored 24 points during Game 2, which also took place in Sacramento. Although Warriors star Steph Curry scored 28 points, it wasn’t enough to beat the Kings, as Sacramento took Game 2 by a score of 114-106 and thus held a 2-0 series lead.
But the Warriors wouldn’t back down. Back in the Bay Area, the Warriors controlled Game 3 from start to finish (largely due to Curry’s 39 points), and won by a final score of 114-97.
Game 4 was the most thrilling game in the series by far. Although DeAaron Fox scored 38 points and the Kings rallied late, the Warriors won a nail-biting Game 4 affair, by a score of 126-125.
The home team had won every game in the series through its first four matchups. Yet, the Warriors flipped that script in Game 5, when they went to Sacramento and beat the Kings 123-116. The Warriors four best players — Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andrew Wiggins — scored a combined 97 points in the game, putting the Warriors up 3-2 in the series.
Then the Kings responded with a road win of their own, going to Golden State and beating the Warriors in Game 6, 118-99. Kings’ shooting guard Malik Monk shined in this game, scoring 28 points.
Which set the series up for a winner-take-all Game 7 in Sacramento. They say that the world’s best players shine brightest in the biggest moments — and that’s exactly what Steph Curry did in this Game 7. He scored 50 points in the game — becoming the first player to score 50 points in an NBA Playoffs Game 7 — as the Warriors beat the Kings 120-100, thus ending the Kings’ season.
The series drew the highest first and second-round playoff TV ratings for the NBA since 1999, with game 7 peaking at 11.9 million viewers on ABC.
Kings vs Warriors 2023-24 Matchup Analysis
While the Warriors have been the best Northern California NBA team by far in recent years, the 2023-24 season might be when the Kings catch them. What’s for certain is that Sacramento is on the way up, and has an extremely young, talented roster; compared to the Warriors, who still have a ton of superstars, but are much older than their Northern California foe. For this reason, it’s inevitable that the Kings will eventually overtake the Warriors for supremacy in the Western Conference — which, after going up 2-0 in last year’s playoffs, seemed imminent one season ago. Yet, Golden State showed that their time wasn’t up just yet, and came back to beat the Kings and advance in the playoffs.
But how will they fare this season? The Warriors and Kings will face each other four times in the regular season: on October 27 (at Sacramento), November 1 (at Golden State), November 28 (at Sacramento), and January 25 (at Golden State) — not to mention a potential playoff matchup, as both teams seem primed for another playoff push. Will be this the year that the Kings are crowned as Northern California’s best team, or will the Warriors hold on to that title for at least one season longer? We’ll have to wait and see this season.
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