Mark Jackson helped make sure that his ”Splash Brothers” didn’t make much of one with the big picture in mind in the Golden State Warriors’ last game.
The coach’s decision could pay dividends given the way Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry have performed against the Sacramento Kings this season.
The Warriors will again be short-handed as they seek their first season sweep of their northern California neighbors in 22 seasons Friday night at home.
Golden State (46-29) fell 111-90 at league-leading San Antonio on Wednesday. Thompson scored 15 points and Curry had 11 and 10 assists, but neither played more than 32 minutes and Curry sat out the entire fourth quarter.
"I would have preferred a close ballgame and a win but when they increased the lead and it became obvious, it was important to shut those guys down," Jackson said.
Jackson’s club played without Andre Iguodala, David Lee and Andrew Bogut. Iguodala sat out the second half of a back-to-back set with knee tendinitis, Lee has missed four straight games with a strained right hamstring and Bogut is out with a pelvic/groin contusion.
Neither Lee nor Bogut will play Friday while Iguodala will be a game-time decision.
The coach decided to be pragmatic one night after a 122-120 overtime victory in Dallas that boosted Golden State’s playoff hopes. The Warriors, who trailed by double digits for nearly the entire final three quarters Wednesday, are sixth in the Western Conference.
"I thought it was an excellent effort from us across the board," Jackson said. "You can’t lie about the fact that we’re short-handed. Coming off a big win last night, we battled, we competed and we lost to a very good basketball team."
Giving Thompson and Curry some rest heading into Friday appears to be a smart move. Thompson is averaging 24.3 points on 52.0 percent shooting to help the Warriors go 3-0 in the season series while Curry is averaging 23.7 on 52.9 percent shooting while totaling 30 assists.
The Warriors, seeking their first sweep of Sacramento (27-48) since going 5-0 in 1991-92, have outscored the Kings 55-31 on the fast break this season.
"We have a team on Friday night in Golden State playing for their playoff lives and if we don’t get back, that team is capable of putting up 130 on you," Sacramento coach Michael Malone said.
Malone’s team has posted two straight wins despite the absence of point guard Isaiah Thomas, who has missed the last five games with a right quad contusion.
Thomas averages 20.7 points but rookie Ray McCallum has helped fill the void by averaging 17.6 in starting the last five games. McCallum scored a season-high 27 points in Wednesday’s 107-102 win over the Los Angeles Lakers.
”Every time I think he can’t get any better he finds a way to prove me wrong,” Malone said. ”The biggest thing that impresses me isn’t his scoring or his assists. It’s his demeanor, his composure, and his poise.”
Sacramento avoided a four-game sweep by Los Angeles and doing the same Friday figures to be its incentive.
”Absolutely we wanted this win,” center DeMarcus Cousins said. ”We definitely didn’t want to get swept.”
Cousins is averaging 27.5 points and 12.0 rebounds while shooting 65.6 percent in his last two games.