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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Golden State Warriors too often let lesser competition keep games close — and allowed a few of them to slip away — on their home court last season.
That doesn't appear to be a problem anymore.
The Warriors eased past the struggling Sacramento Kings 128-108 on Monday night, the kind of all-around performance that has defined their strong start under new coach Steve Kerr.
All 13 active players scored, including six in double digits. The reserves had a season-high 62 points. And the team totaled 36 assists, the franchise's most in four years.
"These are the fun games when everybody gets in there and scores and feels good afterward," Kerr said.
There have been a lot of those for Golden State already.
Klay Thompson scored 25 points, reserve Justin Holiday had 18 and Festus Ezeli added a career-high 15 points to go with six rebounds in place of injured center Andrew Bogut, helping the Warriors hold a big lead most of the way.
Stephen Curry also had 12 points and 11 assists — and got to rest most of the fourth quarter — as Golden State stretched its NBA-best record to 23-3.
"We have to learn to share the ball better, the way they do. We have to move it side to side, like they do," said Kings forward Omri Casspi, who had 16 points and eight rebounds.
DeMarcus Cousins had 22 points and eight rebounds, and Darren Collison scored 17 points in Sacramento's latest blowout loss to its Northern California rival. The Warriors whipped the Kings 95-77 on opening night in Sacramento and have won six consecutive games in the series, including all four last season.
Sacramento has lost 11 of 14 games, a slide that started when Cousins came down with viral meningitis and missed 10 games. The Kings also fired Michael Malone as coach last week, and uncertainty about how long interim coach Tyrone Corbin will man the sidelines has lingered since.
"We all need to stick together," Corbin said.
The Warriors got off to a fast start and controlled the game by doing what they have most of the season: clog the paint on defense, push the pace and move the ball.
They led 36-20 at the end of the first quarter, 76-53 early in the third and — except for a few short-lived surges by Sacramento — kept a comfortable cushion throughout.
Perhaps just as important for the Warriors was the return of David Lee, who played for only the second time this season and first since Nov. 5. He had six points on 3-for-9 shooting and seven rebounds in 16 minutes, receiving a standing ovation from the crowd when he entered as a reserve late in the first quarter.
Lee admitted he felt some nerves returning to a team that has done so well without him.
"I was definitely the most excited guy in the NBA to play basketball tonight," Lee said. "I haven't been nervous for a game in five years."
Lee had been out recovering from a strained left hamstring, which forced him to leave after 6 ½ minutes in his previous appearance against the Los Angeles Clippers. Kerr said the two-time All-Star forward responded well to conversations about coming off the bench, which Lee confirmed.
Draymond Green has played exceptional as the starter, and Kerr sees no reason to change what has worked — which has been just about everything this season.
Kings: Sacramento had 31 assists and 13 turnovers. ... Sacramento dropped to 10-8 with Cousins in the lineup this season.
Warriors: Bogut underwent a second platelet-rich plasma therapy over the weekend on his right knee. He will likely be out at least another week or two. ... It was the most assists for the Warriors since dishing out 36 in a 132-102 win over the Clippers on Feb. 10, 2010.
Staff Sgt. Nikki Castle was reunited with her young son, Makio Cabales, between the first and second quarter on the court. Makio was asked to participate in a contest as her mother walked onto the court to surprise him that she had returned from Afghanistan.
Kings: Host Phoenix on Friday.
Warriors: At Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.
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