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Omri Casspi scores career high in loss to NBA champs

Israeli basketball star bags 36 points including nine 3-pointers, but his Sacramento Kings falls to Golden State Warriors

The star Israeli forward Omri Casspi scored a career-high 36 points on Monday night with nine three pointers, tying a team record. Still, it wasn’t enough to prevent a loss for his Sacramento Kings, the team’s eleventh in a row against its Northern California rival, NBA champions the Golden State Warriors.

After trailing early, the Kings went on a 28-7 spurt to build a 41-30 lead on one of Casspi’s seven first-half threes. But Casspi’s sharp shooting seemed to awaken the Warriors’ Stephen Curry, who missed his first six shots and was scoreless for the first 20:44 of the game.

Curry ended that drought with a 3-pointer that spurred a stretch of 17 straight Golden State points in the final 3:16 of the half. Curry hit five 3s and a layup during that span to the delight of the home crowd.

Casspi hit four 3s in that same stretch to help Sacramento take a 61-58 lead at the break.

Curry overcame his slow start to score 23 points as part of his sixth career triple-double and the Golden State Warriors won for the 29th time in 30 games this season, 122-103.

Omri Casspi #18 of the Sacramento Kings dunks the ball over Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors at ORACLE Arena on December 28, 2015 in Oakland, California (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images/AFP)
Omri Casspi #18 of the Sacramento Kings dunks the ball over Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors at ORACLE Arena on December 28, 2015 in Oakland, California (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images/AFP)

For the Kings, the losing streak is their longest in the series since the Cincinnati Royals dropped 13 straight to the Philadelphia Warriors in 1959-60.

In July swingman Casspi, 27, reportedly signed a two-year contract worth $6 million with the Kings.

He averaged 19.9 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.9 assists in eight late-season games last April for the Kings, although his full season averages were only 8.9 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists.

Casspi became the first Israeli to play in the NBA in 2009, when he was drafted up by the Kings in a first-round pick.

Born in Holon, near Tel Aviv, Casspi was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2011. He later played for the Houston Rockets, and was traded to and then waived by the New Orleans Pelicans before returning to the Sacramento Kings in 2014 as a free agent.

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