Golden State Warriors coach Don Nelson knows his club can lose on any given night. Over the last three weeks, however, the Warriors have shown a remarkable ability to avoid doing so.
After pulling out a sloppy victory, Nelson’s Warriors hope to put together a better performance on Tuesday when they visit the Pacific Division rival Sacramento Kings.
Golden State (41-24) has won eight of its last 10 games, but committed 20 turnovers and needed to convert some key plays down the stretch to hold off struggling Memphis 110-107 on Saturday night.
“We were very vulnerable, but we came away with a win and that’s the main thing,” said Nelson, whose team has maintained its hold on the eighth spot in the tight Western Conference playoff race. “There are no bad teams in the NBA. There isn’t anybody we can’t beat and there isn’t anybody that can’t beat us on any given night.
“We didn’t look much like an eighth-place team tonight, but we remain there. We’re going to have to play a lot better than we played tonight and I know we will.”
Golden State point guard Baron Davis knows bouncing back from the ugly performance is important, as the Warriors play each of their remaining 17 games against Western Conference opponents.
“We were sloppy tonight for some reason,” he said Saturday. “I don’t know why. We were careless with our passes. We have to clean that up, especially with the games we have coming up, which are very important with where we are in the playoff race.”
Davis, in fact, already began cleaning up his game after a rough start Saturday. He missed his first eight shots against Memphis, but made eight of his next 11 attempts and finished with 19 points, seven assists and five rebounds in the victory.
The Kings (30-36) are coming off a sloppy win of their own. They committed 22 turnovers that led to 22 points in their 106-100 victory over Toronto on Sunday.
“It wasn’t textbook, but the guys came up with a victory,” said Kings coach Reggie Theus, whose team has won three of four games after dropping seven of its previous eight. “We did what we had to do down the stretch.”
Sacramento’s recent success is largely due to the return of forward Ron Artest, who’s averaging 21.0 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.8 steals in four games since missing two games with a foot injury.
Artest has averaged 22.0 points in two games against Golden State this season, but has gone just 17-for-45 (37.8 percent) from the field in those contests - both Sacramento losses.
Golden State guard Monta Ellis averaged 28.0 points and shot 67.9 percent (19-for-28) from the field in those games to help the Warriors improve to 5-1 in their last six games against the Kings. They’ve also won three straight in the series, and are seeking their first four-game win streak against the Kings since a seven-game run Feb. 13, 1993-April 21, 1994.
The Warriors could have forward Chris Webber back in the lineup for this game. Webber, who made four All-Star games while playing for Sacramento from 1998-2005, has missed Golden State’s last seven games with a sore knee.