The Golden State Warriors are entering the final week of the regular season with a 35-33 record and hold the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference. The Dubs will play four games this week and are well-positioned to clinch a play-in spot.
Golden State leads the 10th place New Orleans Pelicans by four games, meaning all the Warriors need is to win one of their remaining contests or have the Pels lose once in their four remaining matchups to get into the tournament.
As things stand, the Dubs would play the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers in the opening round.
Here is how the standings look going into the final week of the regular season and the remaining schedules for the teams listed below.
No. 6) Portland Trail Blazers 39-29 (vs. Rockets, @ Jazz, @ Suns, vs. Nuggets)
No. 7) Lakers 38-30 (vs. Knicks, vs. Rockets, @ Pacers, @ Pelicans
No. 8) Warriors 35-33 (vs. Jazz, vs. Suns, vs. Pelicans, vs. Grizzlies)
No. 9) Memphis Grizzlies 34-33 (vs. Pels, vs. Mavericks, vs. Kings, vs. Kings, @ Warriors)
No. 10) San Antonio Spurs 32-35 (vs. Bucks, @ Nets, @ Knicks, vs. Suns, vs. Suns)
No. 11) Pelicans 31-37 (@ Grizzlies, @ Mavericks, @ Warriors, vs. Lakers)
Portland’s final three games are extremely tough, but it should be able to beat Houston. The Trail Blazers are battling the Lakers to clinch a place in the top six and guarantee at least one seven-game series.
It’s surprising to see the Lakers being in a play-in spot. They started the season 21-6, but long-term injuries to LeBron James and Anthony Davis have sent L.A. tumbling down the standings. L.A. got a massive win over the Phoenix Suns on Sunday and is a game behind the Blazers for the sixth seed with four remaining. LeBron should return to action this week as he rehabs his ankle injury. Because Portland holds the tiebreaker, the Lakers will need to finish at least a game ahead of the Blazers to get into the No. 6 seed.
Memphis has two very winnable games against Sacramento on the schedule and should be able to challenge the Warriors for the eighth seed.
San Antonio has the most difficult remaining schedule in the league. The Spurs are 1-6 over their last seven and hold just a 1.5 game lead on New Orleans. Gregg Popovich’s squad will need to turn things in a hurry if it wants to remain in a play-in position.
The Pelicans will be without forward Zion Williamson for the remainder of the season. Williams hurt his finger and likely won’t be available the rest of the way. New Orleans got a big win over the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday to keep its playoff hopes alive for the time being.
That brings us to Golden State. The Dubs’ next two games are against two of the best teams in the NBA and should test head coach Steve Kerr’s squad. The Warriors are hoping Kelly Oubre Jr. and Eric Paschall can return for the final game of the season, which will be a big boost to Golden State’s depth.
Stephen Curry continues to light up the NBA and leads the league in scoring. Curry has been sensational in recent weeks and has helped the Dubs win four of their last five as they took advantage of a shorthanded OKC team to get a couple of blowout wins.
The final game of the season against the Grizzlies could have massive implications. Golden State and Memphis split their two regular season games so far, so whichever team wins the third matchup will hold the tiebreaker. That would be a moot point if the Dubs are two games up on the Grizzlies going into the finale.
If the Warriors finish No. 8, they will have the chance to win one game to get into the postseason. If they fall to No. 9, they would need to win twice to punch their ticket to the playoffs.
It looks like Golden State would play either Portland or L.A. if it hangs onto the eighth seed. Falling down to No. 9 will likely mean a play-in game against the Spurs with the right to take on the loser of the 7 vs. 8 matchup in the play-in tournament finale.
There is still a ton to figure out in the Western Conference, but we know the Dubs should at least be a part of the play-in tournament.
Where do you think the Warriors will finish in the standings? Which team do you think they will end up playing in the first round of the play-in tournament?