Programming note: Kings-Warriors coverage tips off tonight 7 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area with Warrior sPregame Live (Territory restrictions apply) Channel locations
OAKLAND – After 75 games, the Warriors have reached the sprint portion of the NBA season. And they are limping. Badly.
When the Warriors face the Kings at Oracle Arena Friday night, starting center Andrew Bogut (pelvis/groin contusion) will not be available for the fourth consecutive game.
Starting power forward David Lee (strained right hamstring) also will be out, for the fifth straight game.
And starting small forward Andre Iguodala, who has missed four of the last seven games with right knee tendinitis, is listed as questionable, so he'll be hurting if he's able to play at all.
"We have some guys banged up, a short-handed lineup, but the mission still says the same,'' point guard Stephen Curry said Friday, after the team's morning shootaround. "We all have that kind of confidence. So, hopefully, sooner or later we get everybody full strength and keep pushing.''
The pushing is bound to be harder, however, when there are few bodies able to push. For the Warriors (46-29) that means increased production, if not a more considerable workload for the only healthy members of the starting lineup.
That would be shooting guard Klay Thompson and Curry. And even then, they will need significant contributions from the bench. Jermaine O'Neal, Draymond Green (or Marreese Speights) and Harrison Barnes likely will join Thompson and Curry in the starting lineup against Sacramento.
The Kings (27-48) typically find extra motivation when facing their NorCal rivals. And that was the case before last summer, when they hired former Warriors assistant coach Michael Malone as their head coach.
"I've been here five years and they've played us tough every single time, and you can expect that tonight,'' Curry said. "So to have the opportunity to beat those guys, and take care of our home court, that would be a big-time issue for us tonight.''
Four of the Warriors remaining seven games will be played at Oracle, including the next three in a row – all against sub-.500 clubs. It figures, at first glance, to be the time to solidify their hold on the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference playoffs race.
With so much of the roster restricted to the sideline – and with a resume dotted with so many losses to inferior teams – the Warriors surely realize nothing can be assumed.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH: O'Neal vs. DeMarcus Cousins. No center in the league is more adept at scoring than Cousins, so it will be a difficult task for the old vet to contain the man nicknamed "Boogie.'' The Warriors may need Hilton Armstrong, who at least will have six fouls to give.
Barnes vs. Rudy Gay. Barnes has an inglorious history with this guy, largely because last season he was posterized by Gay. But with Iguodala out and Gay being too athletic for Green, Barnes will get another chance to stay in front of a tough cover.
Thompson vs. Ben McLemore. With Isaiah Thomas likely out, Thompson gets the straight matchup with the rookie shooting guard from Kansas. McLemore is streaky but athletic, and very tough in transition.
KEYS TO THE GAME: 1) Trey time. The Kings aren't known for playing spectacular perimeter defense, so bombs away. 2) Bother Boogie. Cousins is susceptible to mental lapses, particularly when he's frustrated. 3) Bench boys. Jordan Crawford and Steve Blake can hurt Sacramento while giving Curry and Thompson some rest.
INJURY REPORT: For the Warriors, C Bogut and PF Lee are out. SF Iguodala will be a game-time decision. C Festus Ezeli (right knee surgery) continues to rehab but is out indefinitely.
For the Kings, PG Thomas (right quad contusion) is listed as out. PF Carl Landry (right knee surgery) and SG Jason Terry (left knee rehab) are out for the season.
LAST 10: Warriors 5-5, Kings 4-6.
SERIES HISTORY: The Warriors won the first three games this season and are seeking their first season sweep of the Kings since 1991-92, when they won all five games.