Fast Forward: Warriors need to play Kings better

Jackson talks overall state of Warriors, Curry brothers, Barnes' health

Fast Forward: Warriors need to play Kings better
October 23, 2013, 10:00 am
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The Warriors lost three of four games to the Kings last year. (USATSI)

Programming note: Catch the Warriors tonight when they take on the Kings in Sacramento -- coverage begins at 7 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet California

OAKLAND -- The Warriors on Wednesday play the sixth of their seven preseason games, 7 p.m. tipoff against one of their peskiest opponents, the Sacramento Kings, at Sleep Train Arena in West Sacramento.

"We haven’t played well at Sacramento at all since I’ve been here," point guard Stephen Curry said. "It’s one of the little mini-missions within the season that we can hopefully take advantage of."

One of the barriers to reaching elite status in the NBA is consistently beating inferior teams. The Kings are such a team, and have been in recent seasons. Even last year, when the Kings were downright abysmal, they took three of four from the Warriors -- including both games in Sacramento.

The Kings, however, are making a sincere attempt to revive themselves. They have a new ownership group, led by former Warriors minority owner Vivek Ranadive, which fought off an aggressive competing offer. The Ranadive group is committed to remaining in the state capital and has plans to build a downtown arena.

The Kings also have a new coach, former Warriors assistant Michael Malone, and a new general manager, Pete D’Alessandro, a former Warriors executive. Warriors legend Chris Mullin is an adviser.

"Regardless of who is the management or who is coaching the team and some of the players, the fact that we haven’t played well up there in that city, in that arena," Curry said. "We have to change that."

Coach Mark Jackson made no specific reference to the Kings, but understands his team is in the final stages of the preseason. With one week and two games remaining -- the Kings on Wednesday, the Trail Blazers on Thursday at Oracle Arena -- before the Oct. 30 season opener against the Lakers, it’s time to fine tune.

"I just want to keep on getting better and probably establish more of a rotation in one of the games," Jackson said. "Being in a back-to-back, I want to get my guys some minutes. I just want to be cautious, and make sure that we remain healthy and continue to build toward the first game of the season."

The playing rotation remains largely undefined, mostly because small forward Harrison Barnes, who made 81 starts last season, has been sidelined since Oct. 7 with what the Warriors are saying is inflammation in his left foot.

[RELATED: Barnes' health a concern]

Barnes, who started the first two preseason games, is not expected to play this week. Klay Thompson, who spent the first two games in the role of sixth man, has replaced Barnes in the starting lineup.

Until Barnes is ready, expect the starting lineup to consist of center Andrew Bogut, power forward David Lee, small forward Thompson and shooting guard Andre Iguodala, with Curry at the point.

"We made a lot of progress over the preseason," Curry said. "We started out real slow and we didn’t really put together good spurts. But as of late, we’ve kind of gelled and found a rhythm. Hopefully over the next two games we demonstrate that even more."

 

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