No one will confuse the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings with NBA powers, but matchups between the Pacific Division rivals tend to be competitive and exciting.
The Warriors, who could again be without Stephen Curry, visit the Kings on Tuesday night at Power Balance Pavilion, where two of their last three meetings have gone to overtime.
Golden State (17-21) and Sacramento (14-27) own two of the Western Conference's worst records along with a recent history of playing some particularly tight contests.
The Warriors and Kings have split their six games since the start of last season, with Sacramento outscoring Golden State 658-657. Three of these contests, including the last meeting - Sacramento's 114-106 home win Feb. 4 - have gone to overtime.
Golden State's Klay Thompson sent the game to OT with a 3-pointer with nine seconds left, but the Kings reeled off nine straight points to begin the extra session. Sacramento's Marcus Thornton finished with 28 points, Tyreke Evans had 26 and nine assists and DeMarcus Cousins had 21 points and a career-high 20 rebounds.
Four days earlier at Oracle Arena, the Warriors held on to beat the Kings 93-90 after allowing Sacramento to trim a 12-point, fourth-quarter deficit to one with three seconds remaining. Brandon Rush, who had a season-high 20 points, then hit two free throws before Evans missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Thornton, who leads the Kings in scoring at 18.5 points per game, didn't play because of a left thigh bruise, and neither Curry nor Monta Ellis were much of a factor. Ellis, who averages a team-best 21.9 points, finished with 12 on 5-of-17 shooting, while Curry missed 6 of 7 shots and scored three.
It's possible the Warriors could be without Curry this time after he left Sunday's 97-93 win over the Los Angeles Clippers. Curry, who averages 14.7 points, started after spraining his right ankle the night before in a win over Dallas, but played just 10 scoreless minutes.
"I just felt it wasn't right to throw him out there,'' coach Mark Jackson said.
Curry has been plagued by ankle problems most of the season, and it's uncertain if Jackson will give him more time off to recover. The Warriors are 4-8 without him.
Dorell Wright helped pick up some of the scoring slack in Curry's absence Sunday, finishing with 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting. Ellis added 21 points and 11 assists while David Lee had 18 points and 10 rebounds.
The Warriors have won three of four, averaging 109.3 points on 53.3 percent shooting - 52.4 from 3-point range - in the victories.
"We just need to take it one game at a time," Ellis said. "We need to continue doing what we have been doing the last couple of games, which is sharing the ball, getting defensive stops, and getting out and running."
The Kings appeared to be turning the corner after opening a franchise-record nine-game homestand with victories over New Orleans and Dallas. Two days after beating the defending champs by 13 points, however, they suffered a 106-99 loss to Atlanta on Sunday. Sacramento was outrebounded 45-36 and allowed the Hawks to shoot 51.2 percent.
"That's kind of what immature teams do,'' rookie guard Isaiah Thomas said. "The energy wasn't there like it was because we were playing the world champions. We have to get better and get up for every day.''