The last time Golden State and Sacramento met, in the preseason, it ended with Kings center DeMarcus Cousins implying that Stephen Curry was a fake tough guy.
That, per Warriors forward Draymond Green, is a misinterpretation. One the Kings -- and everyone else who thinks so -- will pay for dearly.
"Curry's not the kind of guy who's going to (talk trash) to you," Green said. "I've never seen him back down. But he's not going to get in your face and start stuff. That's not who he is. But that's why we have guys like me. Steph, he gets back at you on the court."
Saturday night's faceoff between the Warriors and Kings has the makings of another heated affair. The Warriors are coming off an intense road loss Thursday to the Los Angeles Clippers, who couldn't hide their disdain for Golden State. Now, Golden State hosts a Sacramento squad with a chip on its shoulder, looking at the Warriors as a chance at validation.
You get the sense Curry is eager for what awaits. No, he didn't say it. But usually after high-turnover games, he's downcast and frustrated. But not even a career-high 11 turnovers against the Clippers dampened his spirits. Quite the opposite. He seemed more resilient, almost angry.
"Not going to keep me down," said Curry, who exploded for 17 points and four assists in the fourth quarter after getting benched for turnovers in the third. "Not going to overthink the game. I'm just going to continue getting better at making the right play and still be aggressive."
Indeed, this Sacramento game is shaping up to be a good test for Golden State, which has struggled against its NorCal rival. The Kings, though they will be on the second night of a back-to-back, are certain to play like they have something to prove. And their strength is being physical with high energy.
This is one of those games where you will get to see how Curry handles being the marked man.
In the preseason, he got into it with Kings backup guard Isaiah Thomas. The two at one point had to be separated. Thomas was hands-on and aggressive, which was Chris Paul's plan against Curry on Thursday. The Kings also have athletic big men who are good at trapping Curry, a ploy the Clippers also employed.
Curry said the plan is to be even more assertive.
"In order to attack that, you've got to be aggressive with the ball," Curry said. "Sometimes that means shooting. Sometimes it means getting in the paint. I'll get better at it."
Curry isn't alone in being tested. The Warriors' front line usually has real problems with the size and athleticism of the Kings.
Cousins is big and skilled and loves to mix it up. In the preseason, he and Andrew Bogut went at each other. Cousins could be seen on video saying he would kick Bogut's tail. Forward Jason Thompson is the type of leaping, athletic big man who gives David Lee problems.
After getting outplayed by the Clippers' DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin, how will the Warriors bigs respond?
But for Curry, it's personal. The cover boy with the sizzling name is sure to draw the best out of opponents. It's less about the lumps he takes, because they're coming, and more about how develops through them.
"Ever since college, (Davidson) Coach (Bill) McKillop used to always say have a next-play mentality," Curry said. "It's a cliché, but it really means a lot that you're going to get another opportunity to go out there and impact the game. You've got to be ready for that regardless of what has happened up to that point."
Clearly, his left toe inflammation still isn't healed enough for action. Barnes hasn't played since an Oct. 7 preseason game against the Kings. He also hasn't practiced with the team since.
No timetable has been set for Barnes' return. He's listed as day-to-day. Coach Mark Jackson announced Tuesday he would miss the first two games and be re-evaluated. Jackson said the goal is for the injury to completely heal so the issue doesn't linger.
Sacramento (1-1) at Warriors (1-1), 7:30 p.m. CSNBA