SACRAMENTO -- The Warriors entered Monday four games back, two games in the loss column, of Denver ... for the No. 6 seed in the NBA's Western Conference.
Yes, after consecutive wins against winning teams, Golden State is thinking playoffs.
"We've just got to take care of what we can control," Warriors point guard Stephen Curry said. "Our game count is lower than most teams. That means we've got a lot of catching up to do. But that means we have control of the situation. It's not like we need other teams to go on a crazy losing streak. We just need to get some wins and close that gap, so we're focused on that."
Despite all the disappointing losses, and the daunting schedule ahead, Golden State (17-21) is sporting newfound confidence. After getting routed at home by Memphis on Wednesday, the Warriors beat up on Dallas and survived in a gutsy road win over the Los Angeles Clippers.
Houston (22-20) entered Monday owning the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Golden State is 13th but just three back of the Rockets with 28 games to play.
Tuesday, Golden State plays at Sacramento, owner of the second-worst record in the Western Conference. Wednesday, the Warriors host a Boston team playing its third game in three nights. On Friday, Golden State hosts Milwaukee, which is 8-15 on the road.
The road is paved for the Warriors to make a run. The question is will they finally make one.
"We just need to take it one game at a time," guard Monta Ellis said. "We need to continue doing what we have been doing the last couple of games, which is sharing the ball, getting defensive stops and getting out and running."
The Warriors might get to give it a go with the current unit. According to team sources, the club is embracing the likelihood that a trade -- especially a major splash -- won't happen by Thursday's deadline.
Golden State, as this newspaper reported, was gearing up to make a play for Milwaukee center Andrew Bogut. But that attempt comes with many hurdles. Not only might Bogut (fractured left ankle) be done for the year. But any deal for him might require bringing back Stephen Jackson, who left the Warriors on bad terms in 2009.
Sources dismissed reports Monday that Golden State is considering trading Ellis in a three-team deal involving Orlando and New Orleans. Golden State still isn't willing to part with Ellis for anything on Orlando other than Dwight Howard. And no one on the Hornets, not even former All-Star center Chris Kaman, makes the Warriors willing to part with Ellis, one source said.
Warriors management might look for a smaller deal to give the team an immediate boost. But one team source said Golden State is OK if it doesn't pull off a trade by the deadline. That way, the Warriors can deal in the offseason, this time without the lockout hindrances from last offseason.
That would mean the current crew would have the chance to pull off We Believe II. The team already has caught the eye of NBA commissioner David Stern.
"They're picking up some wins that are causing people to raise their eyebrows," Stern told this newspaper. "I'm watching the Western Conference and there are five teams with 21 losses. And Houston and Dallas, which are seventh and eighth, have 20 losses. There are a lot of teams that think if they can get hot, they're going to get in. That's pretty exciting, isn't it? As the commissioner, I'm feeling pretty lucky."
Most important, he led the Warriors to a 3-1 record. Golden State posted wins at Washington, against visiting Dallas, and at the Clippers.
Ellis had 21 points and 11 assists in Sunday's win over the Clippers. It was his second 20-and-10 game this season and the 14th of his career.
WARRIORS AT SACRAMENTO
Tipoff: 7 p.m. at Power Balance Pavilion
TV/Radio: CSNBA; 680
Kings update: Sacramento has lost five of its last seven but is 2-1 on its current nine-game homestand, the longest in franchise history and tied for second-longest in NBA history. ... Second-year big man DeMarcus Cousins leads the league in offensive rebounds per game (4.4) and total offensive boards (173). His 32 charges taken are also tops in the NBA. He is in the top five with 25 double-doubles. As a rookie, he totaled 26. ... The Kings have recorded at least 20 assists 16 times this season, none in the first 13 games of the season. Guard Tyreke Evans' assists per game has jumped from 3.0 to 5.4 under coach Keith Smart.
Warriors update: Golden State is seeking its first three-game win streak since mid-February, when it won at Denver before beating Houston and Phoenix at home. ... Warriors forward Ekpe Udoh played 33 minutes in Sunday's win at the Los Angeles Clippers, finishing with 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting. The Warriors are 8-3 when Udoh plays at least 26 minutes and 9-18 when he doesn't.
Kings injuries: PF J.J. Hickson (hip pointer) is day-to-day.
Warriors injuries: C Kwame Brown (torn chest muscle) is out. PG Stephen Curry (sprained right ankle) is day-to-day.
-- MARCUS THOMPSON II