The Golden State Warriors are clinging to the final postseason spot in the Western Conference.

They'll look to create more breathing room in the playoff race Saturday when they visit the slumping Seattle SuperSonics.

Golden State (31-36), which hasn't reached the playoffs since the 1993-94 season, is in eighth place in the West, just percentage points ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers. Both teams are 23 1/2 games behind the conference-leading Dallas Mavericks.

"We're not thinking that far ahead," reserve Monta Ellis said, "but if we continue playing like we're playing, the playoffs are going to come regardless."

The Warriors beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 106-86 on Friday to keep pace with the Clippers, who beat Charlotte. Ellis had 24 points and six assists and Jason Richardson had 14 points, eight assists and seven rebounds for Golden State.

"I was very pleased with our defense tonight," said coach Don Nelson, whose team ranks last in the NBA with 106.6 points allowed per game. "We had very active hands, putting our hands on the ball 37 times. It also helps when their outside shots are not going in."

The Warriors are 5-1 since the return of point guard Baron Davis, who missed 13 straight games with a knee injury. The lone defeat over that span was a 106-87 loss at Portland in which Davis did not play due to a coach's decision.

Davis, who has averaged 17.2 points since coming back, had 15 and four assists against the Timberwolves. The Warriors had dropped six straight before he returned.

"The main thing is you see the team camaraderie, you see that support for one another and that's translating on the defensive end," Davis said. "That's how we're going to win. As long as our defense is anchoring everything we do, I think we can be successful night in and night out."

Golden State has won six of its last eight games against the SuperSonics, but has dropped its last two in Seattle. The Sonics have dropped four straight overall, including Tuesday's 101-97 loss to the Detroit Pistons.

Ray Allen scored 27 points for the Sonics, but missed a potential game-tying shot in the final seconds.

"In the fourth quarter you've got to make shots," he said. "I thought it was a shot I could make. It looked like it was going to go in. That's disappointing, because when I have those opportunities, I let the team down."

Rashard Lewis, who is averaging a career-best 21.6 points, hit his 918th 3-pointer to pass Gary Payton and become the team's all-time leader. Saturday's game will be his 600th with the Sonics.

Guard Luke Ridnour missed his fifth straight game with an aggravated disc in his neck, but is expected to return against the Warriors.

"I can run and shoot and everything, so Saturday hopefully is a go date," he told the Sonics' official Web site after Thursday's practice.


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