|Old Warriors' arena to host young Mavs star one last time|
San Francisco Bay Area sports fans get a rare opportunity to double-dip with the Golden State Warriors when the two-time defending champs play consecutive-night home games this weekend, beginning with a Saturday night matchup with the Dallas Mavericks in Oakland, Calif.
The Warriors are scheduled to move into the Chase Center in San Francisco next season, so there are just six more regular-season dates at Oracle Arena.
Golden State hosts Detroit on Sunday night.
The Warriors (49-22) are rounding into top form as they duel Denver for the best record in the Western Conference and home-court advantage throughout the Western playoffs.
Golden State has won four of its last five, dispatching a formidable group -- Houston, Oklahoma City, Minnesota and Indiana -- by a total of 57 points.
The Warriors have not had as easy of a time with the Mavericks (28-44), who beat Golden State 112-109 at home in November before coming up just short in subsequent four- and five-point defeats.
One big reason for the Mavericks' competitiveness has been rookie hotshot Luka Doncic, who has burned the Warriors for 24, 19 and 26 points in the three meetings.
Doncic has not slowed in recent action on his path to perhaps unanimous selection as the NBA Rookie of the Year, scoring in double figures in each of his last 23 games, while mixing in five triple-doubles and eight double-doubles.
Doncic is coming off one of his least productive outings of the season, having contributed just 13 points to the Mavericks' 116-100 loss at Sacramento on Thursday night.
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle considered it another learning experience, one that Doncic handled well with 10 rebounds.
"Everybody is loading up on him, so this is nothing new," Carlisle noted to reporters afterward. "We've seen a lot of this.
"He's got to keep attacking, making reads, seeing when double-teams are there and the right play is to advance the ball or hit a guy who's coming up from the corner or something like that. But it's tough."
The Mavericks will play Saturday night -- and the rest of the season -- without Tim Hardaway Jr., out with a stress reaction in his left leg.
Hardaway thus won't get a chance to perform in a building his dad, Tim Sr., made popular during Golden State's fan-friendly "Run TMC" days.
The Warriors were without Stephen Curry when they lost at Dallas in November. That result snapped Golden State's 10-game winning streak against the Mavericks that dated back to December 2015
Curry returned to average 35.0 points in two wins over the Mavericks, including a 48-point explosion in the last meeting in Dallas that featured 11 3-pointers.
Someone getting an opportunity to share goodbyes to Oracle Arena with the Golden State fans is Andrew Bogut, who made his Warriors home debut -- the second time around after signing last week -- in the Indiana game.
The veteran admitted it was a memorable experience.
"Great to be back," he assured reporters after the win. "Seeing familiar faces and appreciating all the fans, not only tonight, but just walking around in the Bay Area, I have had old, young, middle-schoolers, high schoolers ... everyone is coming up to me and welcoming me back and saying they are happy to have me back and it's pretty special. So I'm very happy to be here."
--Field Level Media