Sacramento (9-31) at Golden State (18-23)

By MATT BEARDMORE, STATS Writer Thursday, Jan 20, 2011 Tipoff: 10:30 pm EST Fri Jan 21, 2011

While he’s making a strong case to play in his first All-Star game, Golden State Warriors guard Monta Ellis(notes) is more satisfied that his strong play is helping his team inch closer to its goal.

Ellis and the Warriors look to win four in a row for the first time in three seasons on Friday night when they host the slumping Sacramento Kings.

Ellis, third in the NBA with a career-best 25.9 points per game, hit a game-winning jumper with 0.6 seconds left and finished with 36 points in Golden State’s 110-108 victory over Indiana on Wednesday.

Golden State (18-23) is 3-1 on a five-game homestand and has won seven of nine at Oracle Arena. The Warriors are 12th in the Western Conference standings, part of a four-team logjam chasing Portland for the eighth spot.

“I don’t know. Who knows,” Ellis said of possibly playing in next month’s All-Star game in Los Angeles. “I’m going to let the coaches decide what they decide. If they decide not to put me in, we still have the goal to make the playoffs (and) I’m looking forward to that.”

The sixth-year guard is averaging 32.5 points on 54.2 percent shooting - including 8 of 18 from 3-point range - over the last four games and has the club on the verge of its first four-game winning streak since Feb. 26-March 4, 2008.

“He is letting his game speak for itself,” coach Keith Smart said of Ellis, also third-best in the league with 2.3 steals per game. “Having talked to a lot of coaches, they have noticed how well he is playing.”

Kings coach Paul Westphal would rather forget the last time he saw Ellis, who scored nine of his 36 points in overtime as the Warriors rallied from 16 down for a 117-109 victory at Arco Arena on Dec. 21.

Warriors forward Vladimir Radmanovic(notes) forced the extra period with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer.

“That game was certainly a game that we had. It left a scar,” Westphal said following the Kings’ 94-90 overtime loss to visiting Portland on Wednesday. “I think we’re playing better basketball than we were then, but we’ve been having a tough time closing games.”

After scoring 36 second-half points in each of their previous two games - both road losses - the Kings (9-31) were held to nine in the final 11 minutes Wednesday.

“It’s real frustrating,” guard Tyreke Evans(notes) said. “We have to figure out a way to get those games and win them, especially at home.”

That’s especially true considering the Kings have dropped 14 of 15 on the road.

Sacramento has not won in its last three visits to Oakland and has yielded 130.8 points per game in its last five in the Bay Area.

Although Ellis was sidelined with a sprained knee in the team’s last matchup at Oracle Arena, Golden State outscored the Kings 42-16 in the second quarter and rolled to a 130-98 victory Feb. 17.

Stephen Curry(notes) had 24 points and a career-high 15 assists in the win. The Warriors second-year guard missed last month’s victory in Sacramento with a sprained right ankle.

Kings guard Beno Udrih(notes) had a career-best 34 points with seven rebounds in the Dec. 21 defeat. He is scoring 20.3 points per game - 6.1 more than his season average - over the last seven games.

Golden State has won 11 of 14 at home in this Pacific Division matchup.

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Friday, Jan 21