The Golden State Warriors are making a strong playoff push, but with just one postseason appearance since 1994, they're not about to overlook any opponent. Especially not one that's defeated them twice this season -- and nearly did a third time.
Golden State goes for its fourth consecutive home win over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night when these Northern California rivals close out their season series.
Winners of six of eight, the Warriors (41-31) are on the verge of their first winning season since 2007-08. They've also moved one step closer to their first playoff berth since 2007, currently in sixth place in the Western Conference, 5 1/2 games ahead of ninth-place Utah.
"Yeah, you have to treat every game like it's a big game," said Klay Thompson, who hit six 3-pointers and scored 22 in Monday's 109-103 win over the Los Angeles Lakers. "You've got the Kings coming in here, another tough California team right up the street."
The Warriors, 24-10 at Oracle Arena, have to feel good about playing a Kings team sporting a league-worst 6-30 road record, but hosting Sacramento (25-46) is no guaranteed 'W.' Golden State needed a go-ahead 3-pointer by Thompson with 7.5 seconds left to hold off the visiting Kings 87-83 on March 6.
The Warriors lost the first two meetings in Sacramento, 94-92 on Nov. 5 and 131-127 on Dec. 19.
Golden State, though, has to like its chances if Curry can continue his recent surge. Questionable against the Lakers after spraining his twice surgically repaired ankle in Saturday's win over Washington, Curry finished with 25 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds.
He's made 24 of 47 3-point attempts over the last five games while averaging 28.6 points and 7.0 assists.
"He's proven," coach Mark Jackson said. "(His injuries are) not a concern to me and it's not a concern to this franchise. ... We know just how special a player and person that he is and we are fortunate to have him."
Kings coach Keith Smart, the Warriors' previous coach, knows how true that is -- and how much Curry could hurt his struggling team.
Sacramento is among the league's best with 108.9 points per game since Feb. 9, but it is yielding a league-worst 109.0 during that 8-13 stretch.
"We couldn't contain the ball -- we couldn't keep the ball out of the paint in operating areas," Smart said after Sunday's 117-103 loss to Philadelphia. "Once you get guys who are known shooters hot in a building, it's going to be hard to cool those guys (down)."
The Warriors are 49 for 100 from long range over the last five games, led by Curry and Thompson (19 for 34).
Sacramento has done a relatively good job holding Curry in check this season -- he's averaging 19.0 points on 34.0 percent shooting -- but he's also hit 11 of 23 3s.
The Warriors' backcourt needs to keep an eye on point guard Isaiah Thomas, who's 20 for 49 from long range with a team-best 19.4 points per game over the last eight contests.
Kings center DeMarcus Cousins is averaging a team-best 17.3 points with 8.7 rebounds in this season series.
Warriors forward David Lee, the NBA leader with 48 double-doubles, has 66 points and 24 boards in those matchups -- both team highs.
The Kings can win the season series for the first time in a decade and even the all-time series at 185.