Kings, Warriors Seek Fourth Straight Win
By JEFF MEZYDLO, STATS Writer
Posted Nov 16 2006 11:07AM
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It's been a while since the Golden State Warriors last won five straight at home.
The surging Warriors look to match their longest home winning streak in nearly two years when they host the equally hot Sacramento Kings at Oracle Arena on Thursday.
Thanks to the play of veteran guard Baron Davis, Golden State (5-3) remained perfect on its season-long seven-game homestand after a 110-99 win over the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night. Davis posted his first double-double of the season with 22 points and 12 assists in 44 minutes.
``I didn't really want to play him that many minutes, but it's probably the only way I can win right now,'' Warriors coach Don Nelson said. ``He's our most dominant guy.''
Davis hasn't played more than 67 games in any season since 2002-03 because of a variety of injuries. He leads the Warriors with 20.4 points and 7.9 assists this season, is averaging 22.6 points at home, where Golden State is 4-1, and 26.0 points during its three-game overall winning streak.
Despite shooting 41.6 percent from the field for the season, Davis scored 11 points during an 18-3 Golden State rally against the Raptors. He also scored seven points in two minutes during the fourth quarter to give his team the lead.
``I was just trying to push it through,'' Davis said. ``I knew I was going to have to push the ball and feed off my teammates.''
Davis is averaging 18.6 points in 12 career games against Sacramento, his second-highest average against any team he's played more than five games against. He had 25 points and 16 assists in his only game against the Kings last season, a 113-106 win on Nov. 30, 2005.
Golden State last won five straight home games from Mar. 25-Apr. 8, 2005. The Warriors had a season-high four-game home winning streak last season that included the win over the Kings.
Sacramento (5-2) will try for its fifth straight win that would match a season high from 2005-06. The Kings finished off a 4-0 homestand with a 115-111 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday.
Mike Bibby scored a season-high 32 points and had 10 assists as the Kings tied the Los Angeles Clippers for first in the Pacific Division. Four Kings finished in double figures as the team shot 55.0 percent (11-for-20) from 3-point range.
Kevin Martin, who had 24 points, hit a key 3-pointer with 4:49 left in the game to give the Kings the lead for good. Shareef Abdur-Rahim had 21 points and 13 rebounds.
Ron Artest, who has been suffering back spasms, is expected to play Thursday after scoring 19 points off the bench. Artest rode on an exercise bike to stay loose before the game.
``I thought he just went to the bathroom,'' Martin said. ``You know Ron. You never know what he's going to do.''
The Kings are allowing 92.5 points a game while averaging 103.5 during their four-game winning streak. They last lost 104-91 at Milwaukee on Nov. 4.
The teams split the four-game season series in 2005-06.
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The Kings visit the Golden State tonight in a showdown of Pacific Division foes. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. and will be televised nationally on TNT. It is the third time in four games that the Kings have been televised around the country.
The Kings head into tonight’s game boasting a four-game winning streak tied only with the Cavaliers for the longest active winning streak. The Kings also are one of only five teams in the NBA that have two or fewer losses (only Utah has one loss).
“We feel like we made that last year,” Martin said of the Kings making an early statement this year after a tough first round playoff series with San Antonio. “We have the same starting line-up as we did last January. We are just trying to do what we did last year.”
The Kings have been focused on each opponent this season and it has shown with the four straight victories. Many times NBA teams look ahead, often overlooking teams that are struggling, but the Kings haven’t. The Kings face a much improved Golden State team tonight led by Don Nelson’s return to the Bay Area. They then take on the always formidable Spurs on Sunday and the one-loss Jazz next Wednesday.
“We never want to look past a team because at the end of the season it always comes down to one or two games,” Martin said. “We don’t want to have ‘must wins’ at the end of the season. We’re going to play every game like we need it.”
One of the most noticeable stats this season has been the Kings continued progression on the offensive end. The Kings have improved their field goal percentage in every game this season. They started at Minnesota by shooting 34.8 percent. Improving in every game since, the team shot 50 percent from the field in last night's victory over the Grizzlies. Like field goal percentage, the Kings also have increased their scoring production in every game. The Kings opened the season with 83 points and a loss and increased their output to 115 points and a ‘W’ last night.
“Those kinds of games are fun and we have another game like that (tonight),” Shareef Abdur-Rahim said of the up tempo game.
“Any time you’re getting steals and getting rebounds and guys are getting shots it’s easy to run and push the ball back at the other team.”
Another key to the Kings recent success has been their dedication to the boards. The Kings rank second in the league (14.3) in offensive rebounds per game and sixth in total rebounds (43.4) per game.
“Overall we have a concentrated effort (to crash the boards) and it’s working well for us,” Abdur-Rahim said.
Assists also are up from the beginning of the season. The team has passed for more than 20 assists in each of the past two games and they also scored more than 100 points in both games. Kevin Martin is rapidly becoming known around the league for his scoring, but he even surprised himself with his dime dropping output. When asked if he was assisting more than usual on purpose, Martin laughed and said, “Yeah, I guess so.”
Asked if he was surprised by the career-high, Martin said, “No, I can pass!”
Martin dished for a career-high six assists last night.
Don Nelson is back in Golden State and so is his fast paced offense. The new tempo has brought early success to the Warriors and they too have a winning streak on the line tonight. They have won three-straight and hold a 5-3 record.
The Warriors are fifth in the league in scoring, averaging 103 points per game and also shooting a high percentage from the floor, 46.85 percent.
Baron Davis may be benefiting the most from Nelson’s revamp of the Warriors offense. He is averaging more than 20 points; close to eight assists, and better than two steals a game.
“I think Davis is playing the best of his career,” Martin said.
Anyway I think we can win this one but I won't make a prediction that we actually will. Warriors are a good team and we might have to play a lot of small ball too match up with them. I'd say go to the post with Ron and Reef a lot if you have to put Ron at PF/Reef at C(which we already know he'll play), but really I don't see anyone who the Warriors can use to guard them. Bibby/Davis should be a good battle, hope Martin can guard Ellis. This is the first gamethread in a couple games I've tried to make good so hope you guys like it.
What happened to the "knock the guy over before he gets to the rim" philosophy?
That was a prime example of why small ball doesn't work; however, I was confused as to why the kings didn't start attacking the rim also. Comeone richardson or davis are too slow to guard bibby and martin. Artest can roll through anyone.