It seems like every series between the Kings and the Warrior has come down to the wire. In the 2008-2009 season, the teams split the season 2-2 with each team winning both games on the other teams' home court. And, each won one game in overtime, GS won 143-141 in overtime and the Kings won 135-133 in triple overtime. Last season, they each won both of their home games. This season the Warriors won the first meeting in Arco 117-109 in overtime and won the first game in Oracle Arena 119-112 also in overtime. Back home on the March 14th the Kings put an end to the Warriors 2 game winning streak by defeating the Warriors 129-119. So, if the Kings are to remain tied with the Warriors over the last 3 seasons they'll need to win in Oracle Arena one more time.
Golden States only trade at the deadline was to acquire Troy Murphy from New Jersey and then promptly waive him 3 days later. They did sign Al Thornton in early March after he was waived by Washington. So, the main change from earlier in the season is the Kings acquisition of Marcus Thornton. Also, the Warriors Center Andris Biedrins has missed ninth straight games because of a sprained left ankle, and it's unknown whether he'll return before the end of the season.
In our lone win Marcus Thornton, in his 10th game with the Kings, scored a career-high 42 points and Samuel Dalembert finished with a career high 27 points and a game-high 16 rebounds. After falling behind 3-0 the Kings answered with 19 straight points for a 19-3 lead. The Kings finished the opening quarter leading 35-20. The Kings pushed the lead 25 points 3:15 into the second quarter, but Golden State cut the Kings lead back to 12 , 71-59, by the end of the quarter. The lead was still 14 with 6:33 left in the 3rd when the Kings started to pull away and finished the quarter on a 14-4 run and started the fourth up by 23, 107-84. Golden States head Coach Keith Smart pulled his starter to start the fourth and went with his reserves for the rest of the game. The lead was still 24 points with 5:18 remaining in the game, when the Warriors went on a 15-0 run to close to within nine with 2:14 remaining. The Kings were able outscore the Warriors 6-5 over the remainder of the game to pull out the 129-119 victory.
All the Kings starters scored in double figures along with Luther Head who had 10 pt/ 5 asts/ 4 rebs off the bench. The Kings out rebounded the Warriors 46 to 24 and 11 to 4 on the offensive glass. But the Kings gave some of those extra possessions back by turning over the ball 19 times to GS's 13 turnovers. Golden States big 3 of Lee, Curry and Ellis played more than 12 minutes below their usual mpg, so it's difficult to determine Marcus' impact in the outcome of this game. We did dominate the boards and we outscored the Warriors 66-38 in the paint, and with Biedrins out that shouldn't change.
The Warriors are out of the playoffs and can only move up in the standings which hurts their odds in the lottery, so basically their playing for pride, and they're playing very well. They're on a 3 game winning streak with wins against Dallas, Portland and the Lakers
The starting lineup for the Warriors should be Dorell Wright and David Lee at the forwards, Ekpe Udoh at Center, and Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis in the backcourt. David Lee, Monta Ellis, Dorell Wright and Stephen Curry have carried the Warriors during the three-game winning streak. Each has played at least 40 mpg over that stretch except Curry who had to sit out a quarter in foul trouble and Wright who got some rest in the blow out win over the Trailblazers. Lou Amundson is seeing almost starter minutes in relief of Udoh and has averaged 9.3 points and 6.3 rebounds over the last three games off the bench. And he's made more free throws than any other Warrior in the last two games.
David Lee is averaging 22.0 points and 12.1 rebounds over the last eight games. Dorell Wright is averaging 15 pts/ 5.5 rebs on 40% from the field and 29% from three in the last 10 games which is far below his seasonal average of 38% from three. Ekpe Udoh the athletic 6-10 rookie out of Baylor hasn't taken advantage of his new starters minutes, and is only averaging 6.5 pts/ 4.5 rebs on 45% field since taking over for Biedrins. But the Warriors are all about Ellis and Curry, and their doing fine. Monta is averaging 23 pts/ 6.6 asts/ and 3.6 rebs while shooting 45% from the field and 44% from three point range in 40+ mpg which is slightly better than his seasonal average. Stephen is averaging 17 pts/ 5.7 asts/ 5 rebs on 40% field and 45.7% from beyond the arc, and let's not forget his 90+% from the FT line.
Down the stretch, Coach Smart has cut his rotation down to 9 in close games, with Reggie Williams, Al Thornton and Vladimir Radmanovic joining Lou Amundson off the bench. But, with 4 of the starters playing almost 40 mpg, everyone but Lou is being limited to 15 mpg unless someone gets into foul trouble.
Both teams are seeing good improvement as the season winds down. The last three season series have had 1/3 of the games go into overtime, and both teams have won as many home games as away games; assuming that the Kings can pull out a victory Sunday in Oracle Arena. So, right now I'd guess that there is no sure fire favorite to win this game. The Kings should control the paint, and GS will probably outscore us on the outside jumpers. The Kings bench should be the favorite over the Warriors bench, but the GS starters play so many minutes that it's hard to say how much impact the bench will have in this game. So, in the end it probably comes down to Tyreke and Marcus' defense on Ellis and Curry. On KHTK the other night, Truck Robinson mentioned that the coaches are concerned about the offense with Tyreke and Marcus together because one stands around while the other has the ball. But, I've got to believe that defensively they are our best backcourt. So, in the battle of the best, can the Kings defend the Warriors? We'll find out soon. Get back on defense and go Kings.