Kings-Warriors Preview

Despite helping the Golden State Warriors to a 10-game

improvement in 2010-11, head coach Keith Smart was not retained

after the team failed to make the postseason.

New Warriors coach Mark Jackson could be hard pressed to change

that trend if his team can’t improve its late-game play.

Smart faces his former team for the first time on Tuesday night

in Oakland, Calif., where the Kings will try to snap a season-high

four-game losing streak.

After spending seven seasons as a Warriors assistant, Smart took

over for Don Nelson, who had the final year of his contract bought

out, in September 2010. Smart led the Warriors to a 36-46 record,

but a 12th-place finish in the Western Conference was not the

progress new owners Joe Lacob and Peter Gruber had in mind.

The Warriors, who have been to the postseason once in 17

seasons, then hired Jackson in June.

While he continues to transition from the TV announcing booth to

his first coaching job, Smart took over coaching duties in

Sacramento after Paul Westphal was fired earlier this month.

The Kings (6-14) are just 4-9 since Smart was promoted from

assistant, and four of those losses have been by at least 27

points. The Kings new coach, though, likes where is team is heading

following Saturday’s 96-93 loss at Utah.

“The hardest thing in the world for me as a coach, our staff, is

to not get the win when you do everything right,” Smart said after

rookie Jimmer Fredette airballed a three-point attempt with 4.2

seconds left that would have given the Kings the lead. “… These

are the things that are going to help our team grow. We’ve got to

go through the pain part first to get to the growth part, and

eventually get to the fruit.”

The Kings, who are 2-10 on the road, snapped a four-game skid at

Golden State and split the four-game season series with a 104-103

victory April 10.

Sacramento last dropped five straight during a six-game skid

from March 2-12.

The Warriors (6-12), meanwhile, are also trying to get back on

track after losing for the fourth time in five games on Friday,

120-109 to Oklahoma City.

Golden State has been outscored by an average of 6.6 in the

fourth quarter of its last five games, averaging only 23.0 points

in the final 12 minutes.

“We don’t have the luxury to be able to turn it on when we

want,” said Jackson, whose team plays at Sacramento on Saturday

following its season-high six-game homestand. “It’s a good lesson

for us.”

Warriors leading scorer Monta Ellis could use a bounce-back game

after totaling 17 points in the last two contests. He averaged 21.5

versus Sacramento last season, scoring just seven on April 10 when

he suffered a season-ending concussion after colliding with Kings

forward DeMarcus Cousins.

Kings guard Tyreke Evans, who scored a season-high 31 points

Saturday, averaged 24.5 with 5.0 assists and 4.0 rebounds as these

Pacific Division rivals split two games in Oakland in 2010-11.

The Warriors won both of their games against Sacramento last

season in overtime.

The all-time series is tied at 181 games.