NBA playoffs: Warriors survive De'Aaron Fox, late Stephen Curry blunder in Game 4 thriller to tie Kings at 2-2

A Game 4 thriller turned into a high-stakes backcourt duel in San Francisco on Sunday as the Golden State Warriors pulled out a 126-125 win over the Sacramento Kings.

The win saw the Warriors survive a critical late mistake from Stephen Curry as they staved off the brink of elimination to send the series back to Sacramento tied at 2-2.

Curry battled with De'Aaron Fox throughout the game while leading the Warriors with 32 points, 10 of which came in the fourth quarter. But the game almost unraveled when Curry called a timeout that Golden State didn't have.

An ensuing technical foul and a Fox 3-pointer with 28.1 seconds left led the Kings to cut their deficit to 126-125. A defensive stop on the next Golden State possession set up the Kings for a potential winner with a 3-1 series lead at stake. But Harrison Barnes' 3-pointer in the game's final second was off target, and the Warriors survived with the win.

Stephen Curry and the Warriors are headed back to Sacramento with the series tied at 2-2. (Darren Yamashita/Reuters)
Stephen Curry and the Warriors are headed back to Sacramento with the series tied at 2-2. (Darren Yamashita/Reuters)

Fox scored 12 of his 38 points in the fourth quarter to help cut a 10-point third-quarter deficit to one point. He had the ball in his hands to start the final possession, but a double-team from Curry and Draymond Green forced him to pass out to Barnes for the final shot. Barnes was open, but the ball bounced off the back of the rim as the final buzzer sounded.

Warriors survive late Steph Curry mistake

The late stop fended off a would-be excruciating collapse after the Warriors held a five-point lead with possession of the ball in the game's final minute. But Curry called a timeout the Warriors didn't have with 42.1 seconds remaining as he led Golden State into the frontcourt.

The infraction drew a technical foul that put Malik Monk on the line for a free throw to cut Golden State's lead to 126-122.

It also gave Sacramento possession of the ball. After a missed Barnes jumper and an offensive rebound, Fox made the Warriors pay with a deep pull-up 3 over Green's outstretched right hand. The shot cut Golden State's lead to one, but the Kings wouldn't retake the lead.

The game got off to a scorching start as Sacramento took a 32-31 first-quarter lead. By halftime, the Kings led 69-65, thanks largely to a 21-point outburst from Fox.

Coming off a suspension for his stomp of Domantas Sabonis, Green began Sunday's game on the bench in favor of Jordan Poole, who started in his place in Thursday's Game 3 win. It marked the first time Green came off the bench in a playoff game since 2014. But he was back out with the starting unit to start the third quarter.

Green's primary assignment after halftime was to guard Fox. The effort paid off in the third as Golden State limited Fox to five points in the stanza and entered the fourth with a 102-92 lead. A Klay Thompson 3-pointer to beat the third-quarter buzzer secured the 10-point margin.

But the Kings battled back thanks largely to Fox, whose 12 points in the fourth quarter demonstrated why he was voted the NBA's Clutch Player of the Year. They briefly took back a 107-106 lead on a Monk layup with 9:03 remaining. But a pair of Curry buckets including a long two with his toe on the line extended Golden State's lead back to 110-107. The Kings kept things close from there, but never again overcame the game's final one-point margin.

Outside of his miscue, Curry was in prime form in a game where Golden State needed everything it got from him. He added 5 rebounds and 4 assists to his 32-point tally, while shooting 5 of 11 from 3-point distance.

He got plenty of help from his backcourt mates as Thompson totaled 26 points on a 9-of-14 shooting effort and Poole added 22 points and 4 assists. Green struggled on offense while posting 12 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists. His defensive effort on Fox in the third helped make up for a 3-of-14 performance from the field.

Fox added 9 rebounds and 5 assists to his 38 points. Keegan Murray broke out with 23 points and 7 rebounds while shooting 5 of 7 from 3-point distance. The rookie forward totaled 10 points in Sacramento's three previous games in the series. Monk added 16 points off the bench, while Davion Mitchell chipped in 12 alongside some strong defense when assigned to Curry. But it wasn't quite enough to pull off the win on Golden State's home floor.

A series the Kings once led 2-0 now shifts back to Sacramento on Wednesday (10 p.m. ET, TNT).