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Preview: Warriors hope to extend lead over the Spurs in push for first seed

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On an eight game winning streak, Golden State can essentially claim home court advantage throughout the playoffs with a win tonight. Will the Warriors avenge their season-opening blowout at the hands of the Spurs?

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors
Stephen Curry and the Warriors look to extend their lead in the standings over the Spurs.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Game Information

Golden State Warriors (60-14) at San Antonio Spurs (57-16)

How to watch

Date: Wednesday March 29, 2017

Time: 6:30pm PST

Location: AT&T Center — San Antonio, TX

TV: CSN Bay Area; ESPN

Radio: 95.7 THE GAME

Injury report

Last updated 3/28/17

Warriors: Kevin Durant (out); James Michael McAdoo (?)

Spurs: No injuries reported

One road win could be the key to securing home court advantage

The Golden State Warriors hold a 2.5 game lead over the San Antonio Spurs for the top seed in the playoffs with only eight games remaining in the regular season. A win tonight would almost certainly ensure that Golden State snares home court throughout the playoffs, as any subsequent combination of five wins or Spurs losses would then do.

If the Spurs drop to 57-17 tonight, only a Cavaliers-esque late season stumble, perhaps combined with a Draymond Green suspension or two, could prevent the Warriors from claiming the top seed. With games against Minnesota, Phoenix, New Orleans and the Tankers from L.A. coming up, the Warriors could coast to a first place finish after winning tonight.

On the other hand, a loss tonight would bring the Spurs within 1.5 games of the Warriors. That would leave them with only one loss behind the Warriors and the Spurs could pounce on any Warrior loss for the remainder of the season to steal the first seed. Upcoming opponents like Houston, Washington and Utah pose a threat to Golden State in this scenario. Thankfully all of those games are at Oracle.

While a Warriors team with a healthy Kevin Durant is certainly capable of getting to the Finals without home court advantage, Dub Nation will rest a little easier with a win tonight. The road to the Conference Finals would be easiest as the first seed, particularly if the first round opponent is Portland or Denver as the eighth seed instead of pesky Memphis as the seventh.

Avenge the opening day slaughter

San Antonio’s 29-point win over Golden State in Oakland to start the season shocked everyone who was excited about Durant’s move to the Bay. Steve Kerr was embarrassed by the poor showing and haters around the world danced in the streets as the Super Villains didn’t appear to be so super.

Remember how slowly Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala got out of the gates this year? Remember when the Warriors hadn’t quite figured out their new roster and identity? Remember when JaVale McGee played about as many minutes as Anderson Varejao? The Warriors struggled at times early in the season before reclaiming their swagger atop the league standings.

Tonight’s game should showcase how far the Warriors have come since opening night. Even without Durant, the Warriors are poised to give the Spurs all they can handle. The Splash Brothers put their slump behind them and the team’s defensive intensity has returned to last year’s form.

Although the schedule, once again, puts Golden State in San Antonio on the second night of a back-to-back, this game could be the Western Conference Finals preview we’ve been waiting for. This will be a barometer for how well the teams will match up in the event that they meet in the playoffs.

Both teams are at the top of their game right now. The Spurs just knocked the Cavaliers out of first place in the Eastern Conference as part of their five game winning streak. Meanwhile, the Warriors comfortably defeated the Rockets (and awful officiating) in Houston to run their win streak up to eight games. It’s the two best teams in the league at as close to full strength (get healthy, KD!) as we’re going to see in the regular season.

Of course, this all assumes that Steve Kerr and Greg Popovich aren’t colluding to rest their stars during another nationally televised game just to see how badly ESPN and Adam Silver would flip out. That would almost be worth it to see the reactions... But we’d all rather see them play for real this time around. Game on!

Poll

Will the winner of tonight’s game end up getting the first seed in the playoffs?

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    Yes
    (202 votes)
  • 57%
    No, the Warriors will get it no matter the outcome
    (319 votes)
  • 6%
    No, the Spurs will get it no matter the outcome
    (38 votes)
559 votes total Vote Now