SACRAMENTO -- The last time Warriors forward Matt Barnes was at Arco Arena, his head wasn't with him. At least not all the way.

It was Nov. 28, the day after Barnes' mom, Ann, died from cancer.

"She wanted me to play, so I kept playing for her," Barnes said before Tuesday night's tip-off against the Sacramento Kings. "But I wasn't focused. I tried to use it as a distraction, but it was hard to focus."

Barnes said this trip to Sacramento -- his hometown and the place he made a name for himself in the NBA -- to face his former team was a lot different, easier even because his head is all there this team.

It's his first trip to Sacramento since his mother's passing, he said, and he still hasn't been to his mother's house. He said he won't go until he's ready.

"Last season, I used to find reasons to come home," Barnes said. "Now, I'm staying away for some reason."

Barnes started and played 23-plus minutes in the Warriors' first visit to Sacramento, finishing with six points and nine rebounds as the Warriors pulled out a 103-96 win. His loss became pretty big news as the Warriors -- in the midst of erasing an 0-6 start -- were a hot topic around the league.

This time around, Barnes' role is rather different. He's played 20 minutes in a game once this month, when he logged 24 at Atlanta on March 4. In the six games following, he averaged 9.3 minutes.

Ellis' woes

With some eight minutes left in the first quarter, Warriors coach Don Nelson made a highly unusual substitution: He took guard Monta Ellis out.

It was a rough first four minutes for Ellis. He missed the Warriors' first two shots of the game, the second was emphatically blocked by Kings forward Ron Artest. Even worse, Ellis' man, Sacramento guard Kevin Martin got two easy baskets.

The first half failed to get much better. Martin continued to score, beating Ellis in transition and on slashes to the basket. Martin had 21 points on 8-for-14 shooting by intermission, forcing Nelson to switch Ellis off of Martin. Ellis finished the half with seven points on 2-for-6 shooting.

Ellis certainly has a lot on his mind. His brother, Antwain, 27, was released from University of Mississippi Medical Center on Monday after being shot in the back twice on Sunday. Ellis declined to comment through the Warriors' public relations staff.

Off glass

Artest and Warriors point guard Baron Davis got into a verbal spat in the second quarter, moments after Martin went down following an inadvertent elbow to the face from Warriors guard Kelenna Azubuike. The two had to be separated, much to the crowd's delight. ... Sacramento played without starting point guard Beno Udrih (lower back strain) and rookie center Spencer Hawes (left mid-foot strain).

-- Marcus Thompson II