Warriors face Kings after rare blowout loss
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The Golden State Warriors are coming off a rare reminder that even they can be shellacked when they aren't that interested. So perhaps the question entering Friday's contest in Sacramento against the Kings is how badly they will make their Northern California rival pay.
The Kings probably would prefer not to find out.
The NBA-best Warriors (40-11), coming off their worst loss in 131 contests -- a 129-99 road thumping at Utah on Wednesday -- face the Kings (16-34) at the Golden 1 Center. They haven't lost consecutive games since losing three straight by a combined 32 points in March 2017.
Focus and interest are two ailments that have plagued the Warriors occasionally. Against the Jazz, coach Steve Kerr told reporters that his team put in a "pathetic effort" and called it "disgusting."
It capped a January in which the Warriors ranked 26th among the 30 NBA teams in NBA defensive rating.
"We've had five or six of those this year," Kerr told 95.7 The Game's Damon Bruce Show. "Not as bad, but sort of inexplicable performances. ... "It's not exactly brand new. ... We cannot let it become habitual."
Such an effort bit Golden State in its last meeting with Sacramento on Nov. 27, when Kings rookie Bogdan Bogdanovic hit a go-ahead bank shot with 12.6 seconds left to lift his team to a 110-106 victory. That win ended the Kings' eight-game losing streak on the Warriors' home floor and marked only their second win against them in 15 games overall.
The Warriors played that contest without Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, the two most recent league MVP's. Both will play Friday. Curry managed only 14 points in the loss to the Jazz, following a 49-point effort in a victory over the Boston Celtics one game prior.
Durant averaged 24.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 6.5 assists in 11 games in January, and the Warriors followed that defeat to Sacramento with 11 straight wins.
Forward Shaun Livingston will miss Friday's game for Golden State because of undisclosed personal reasons. Jordan Bell also will miss his sixth straight game with a sprained left ankle.
The Kings are back home after winning three of their final four on a six-game road trip that started with consecutive losses. It was the third straight road trip of at least four games that Sacramento finished with a .500 mark.
They haven't matched that kind of consistency at home. Sacramento brings in a three-game home losing streak, and they've dropped six of their past seven on the home floor.
Guard De'Aaron Fox stood out on the trip, averaging 15.6 points and 3.6 assists while committing only six turnovers over the final five games. He also seemed to play with more rhythm, explosiveness and confidence, all epitomized by a game-winning dunk in an 89-88 victory at Miami on Jan. 25.
Overall, he averaged 14.1 points and 5.2 assists in January while making 42.5 percent of his 3-pointers. He also got the free-throw line 51 times in 14 games.
"I'm always trying to let the game come to me, but I'm attacking the game," Fox told the Sacramento Bee. "We're going to meet halfway."
Kings forward Skal Labissiere will miss the contest and several others with a strained left shoulder. He's expected to miss 2-to-3 weeks.
Coach Dave Joerger is also expected to miss the game for Sacramento. Joerger became light-headed on the sideline during a game in New Orleans on Tuesday. He's expected to resume coaching next week, and lead assistant Elston Turner will run the show.
Updated February 2, 2018