The longest homestand of their season might be exactly what the Golden State Warriors need.
After playing 10 of their last 13 on the road - and winning just once away from home in that stretch - they'll host the Toronto Raptors on Monday night in the first of seven straight at home. It's a series Golden State has dominated lately with six wins in seven meetings and seven consecutive victories in Oakland.
The Warriors (33-27) finished their five-game trip with four consecutive losses, and their only win in 10 road games over the past month was a one-point victory at Minnesota.
At home, on the other hand, Golden State has won six of its last seven, including victories over the Los Angeles Clippers, Oklahoma City and San Antonio. The Warriors are 18-7 in Oakland, where they'll play 15 of their next 19.
They have particularly struggled defensively away from home, allowing 104.4 points per game compared to 97.5 on their home floor.
Coach Mark Jackson's squad still owns one of the league's 10 best scoring offenses, with some spectacular efforts from Stephen Curry leading the way lately, but it hasn't been able to overcome poor defense during the recent road-heavy schedule.
Golden State is yielding 109.1 points per game on 47.1 percent shooting - 39.2 percent from 3-point range - over its last 13 contests. Opponents averaged 99.4 points as the team started the season 30-17.
Curry, who has scored at least 25 in four straight - including a 54-point performance at New York on Wednesday - is averaging 27.6 points on 54.4 percent shooting in five career games against the Raptors, all victories. The Warriors are looking to clean up some recent sloppiness on offense, though, with 18 or more turnovers in four of their last five.
"Our problem was not offensively, our problem was defensively," Jackson said after Saturday's 104-97 loss at Philadelphia, in which Curry and Klay Thompson combined for 59 points. "Our offense is not going to win ballgames. Defensively is how we got it done and taking care of the basketball, and those two things are hurting us right now."
Toronto (23-37) won seven of its first 10 after acquiring Rudy Gay, but has since lost four in a row. Gay, averaging 20.5 points with the Raptors, was a late scratch because of back spasms before a 122-114 overtime loss at Milwaukee on Saturday.
Kyle Lowry had a triple-double with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists as seven Toronto players scored in double figures. The Raptors scored more than 92 points for the first time during their skid, but they let the Bucks shoot 50.0 percent.
"I loved our fight with Rudy being out," coach Dwane Casey said. "Our guys are pulling together, pulling for each other."
The Warriors won 114-102 at Toronto on Jan. 28. David Lee had 21 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists as Golden State hit 53.5 percent from the field.
The Raptors have yielded an average of 119.1 points during their seven straight losses in Oakland, including a 138-100 drubbing in their most recent visit March 25, 2011.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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