With their recent 6-2 run, the Golden State Warriors have further increased their odds to at least get into the NBA’s play-in tournament.
Led by Steph Curry, the Dubs are playing some of their best basketball of the season. It helped that Curry is averaging 41.8 points over the past eight games and looks to be virtually unstoppable on the offensive end.
Golden State has climbed up the standings despite missing several key rotational pieces. Kelly Oubre Jr. returned to the lineup for the win against the Philadelphia 76ers after missing five games with a wrist injury. The Warriors are without forward Eric Paschall for at least one more game, but he should rejoin the team at practice once it returns to the Bay Area Wednesday’s game against the Washington Wizards. The Dubs are also missing rookie James Wiseman, who is out for the season with a knee injury.
The good news is that two veterans have been playing well for Golden State. Draymond Green plays multiple frontcourt positions, while Kevon Looney’s steady presence has been a nice fallback for head coach Steve Kerr.
The Warriors only have 14 games remaining for the play-in tournament begins. They sit tied for ninth in the Western Conference and are only two games behind the Dallas Mavericks for the No. 7 seed.
The NBA’s play-in tournament is as follows:
The No. 7 seed will play the No. 8 seed, and the winner of that game will qualify for the playoffs and have a first-round matchup against the team with the second-best record in the Western Conference.
The loser of the No. 7 vs. No. 8 matchup will take on the winner of the game between No. 9 vs. 10 seed. Whichever team is the last one standing will take on the squad with the best record in the conference.
Golden State is in a prime position to finish somewhere between 7-10 with the third-easiest remaining strength of schedule. If they can advance in the tournament and get into the first round of the NBA playoffs, it will likely mean a series against either the Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns or L.A. Clippers.
Here is how the Dubs have done against the three teams this season:
vs. Utah (1-1): lost 127-108 on Jan. 23, won 131-119 on March 14, an upcoming home game against the Jazz May 10.
vs. Phoenix (0-2) lost 114-93 on Jan. 28, lost 120-98 on March 4, an upcoming home game against the Suns on May 11.
vs. L.A. (1-2): lost 108-101 on Jan. 6, won 115-105 on Jan. 8, lost 130-104 on March 11.
Utah has been one of the best teams in the league all season. The Jazz are a dominant 26-3 at home this season and are top-five in both offense and defense this season. Golden State beat a fully-loaded Utah team when Curry and Andrew Wiggins combined for 60 points earlier in the season.
Phoenix beat Golden State without Curry in the lineup on March 4 but dominated the Warriors earlier in the season. With Chris Paul, Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton leading the way, the Suns will be a matchup nightmare against any team in the postseason. Phoenix ranks third in net rating, sixth in scoring, second in field goal percentage and eighth in 3-point percentage. The Suns also give up the sixth-fewest points out of any NBA team.
Led by Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, the Clippers are rounding into playoff form. L.A. has won eight of its last nine outings but will be without Leonard for at least the next week due to a foot injury. The Clippers split a pair of games in the Bay Area early in the season. The Dubs came back from a 21-point third quarter deficit to defeat L.A. in the second of a back-to-back. The Clippers lead the league in 3-point shooting and rank second in net rating, fourth in field goal percentage, fifth in scoring, and fifth in points allowed per game.
Golden State still has a ton of work to do to guarantee itself at least one playoff series, and some valuable home dates for owner Joe Lacob. The Warriors will battle it out with the Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, San Antonio Spurs or potentially the New Orleans Pelicans to see which of the two teams will advance to the first round.
If the Warriors get into the first round of the NBA playoffs, which team do you think would be the most favorable matchup?
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