The Golden State Warriors face a potential postseason first round foe on Thursday when they entertain the quickly improving Sacramento Kings at the Oracle Arena in Oakland.
The two time defending NBA champions lead the Denver Nuggets by a couple of games in the Western Conference standings, a remarkable position given that the Warriors appear to be mainly going through the motions as they prepare for the playoffs.
Golden State is expected to up the minutes of former King, DeMarcus Cousins, down the stretch as the center gets up to full fitness following his injury.
Meanwhile over in Sacramento the Kings made moves at the trade deadline to push aggressively to make the postseason.
Sacramento has a good young nucleus and it is hoped that the addition of Harrison Barnes, originally drafted by Golden State, will add a final ingredient to get the Kings over the hump. The Warriors are 1/11 to win Thursday's game with the Kings 7/1.
Sacramento trails the Los Angeles Clippers by a game in the standings, but the Clippers indicated that they have focused on rebuilding when they moved Tobias Harris to the Philadelphia 76ers at the deadline.
LA returns to the court on Friday when they take on the Grizzlies in Memphis. Also on the road are the Denver Nuggets who continue to be one of the surprise teams of the year.
The Nuggets have a brutal stretch run and it would not be a shock to see Denver get caught by at least the Oklahoma City Thunder for second in the Conference standings.
The Warriors are 1/4 to win the Western Conference with the Nuggets 9/1.
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