Who is your favorite California NBA team?

Leading Off: Warriors' winning gives Kings fans hope

Published: Thursday, Apr. 25, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Thursday, Apr. 25, 2013 - 2:32 pm

Kings fans longing for a winning team need only look 80 miles to the southwest for an example of what new owners could mean.

In the 20 seasons before this one, the Warriors had a winning record just three times and made the playoffs only twice. Even the lowly Kings were better during that stretch, with eight winning seasons and nine playoff appearances.

This season, the third under new owners, the Warriors won 47 games and finished sixth in the Western Conference. They have a big-time star in Stephen Curry (22.9 points, 6.9 assists and 4.0 rebounds), a very strong supporting cast led by up-and-comers Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes, and a coach (Mark Jackson) who has made them a must-watch team.

Curry, Thompson and Barnes – first-round picks in three of the past four drafts – combined for 75 points in the Warriors' mind-boggling 131-117 rout of the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday. Even without injured All-Star David Lee, they wrestled home-court advantage from the league's best home team (38-3 during the regular season.)

The series shifts to Oakland for Friday's third game and Sunday's fourth game, and you can bet Oracle Arena will be bursting at the seams.

The Warriors were fifth in average attendance (19,373) this season, filling 98.9 percent of Oracle's seats. The Kings, in comparison, were last at 13,749 and filled just 79.4 percent of seats at Sleep Train Arena.

Some of the drop in the Kings' attendance can be attributed to losing records and the decaying arena. But we think more of it has to do with the fans' dislike and distrust of the owners. Warriors fans were faithful through the team's rough patches the last 10 seasons, perhaps because they never disliked the team's owners as much as Kings fans do the Maloofs.

Today's poll

Who is your favorite California NBA team?

• Clippers

• Kings

• Lakers

• Warriors

Vote above or leave your comments in the comment field

Wednesday's results

Which Bay Area NFL player was the better draft pick?

• Frank Gore, 49ers: 73%

• Charles Woodson, Raiders: 27%

Total votes: 213

Call The Bee's Tom Couzens, (916) 321-1097. Follow him on Twitter @tomcouzens.

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