Basketball

Warriors Roundup: Playoff Preparation

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Hoop fans, it is officially the best time of the year. March Madness ended just days ago with the University of Kansas being crowned champs for the first time since 2008, which for NBA fans, and more specifically Warriors fans, means the playoffs are right around the corner!

The Warriors finally broke their four-game skid with a come from behind win at home against the Utah Jazz; Golden State was down as much as 16 points with about seven minutes left. They then rode that momentum into Sacramento where they mostly cruised to a 109-90 win on the second night of a back-to-back.

As Golden State gears up for their title chase, their regular season still has plenty of meaning heading into the final three games of this season’s 82 game slate. Golden State currently holds a one-game lead on the Dallas Mavericks for the 3rd overall seed in the Western Conference. The Warriors have a home game tonight versus the Lakers who will be without star forward LeBron James while Dallas heads up north to the Motor City to take on rookie phenom Cade Cunningham and the Pistons.

The Path to the #3 Seed

Unfortunately, Golden State likely won’t have the privilege of locking up the #3 seed until the regular-season finale, come Sunday. Golden State does not own the head-to-head tiebreaker with Dallas, as Dallas won the season series 3-1.

It’s not impossible for the Warriors to have the #3 seed clinched before Sunday, but they’re going to need some help from Dallas’ opponents and they don’t have the stiffest competition, to say the least.

Breaking Down Their Remaining Schedules

Warriors:

  1. Warriors at home versus the Los Angeles Lakers
  2. Warriors at San Antonio
  3. Warriors at New Orleans

Mavericks:

  1. Dallas at Detroit
  2. Dallas at home versus Portland
  3. Dallas at home versus San Antonio

With just a one-game lead on Luka Doncic and the Mavs AND them holding the tiebreaker, Golden State can’t really afford to drop any of their remaining games if they expect to hold onto the #3 seed. If Dallas goes 3-0, the Warriors must also go 3-0. If Dallas goes 2-1, then Golden State would need 2+ wins and if Dallas goes 1-2, then the Warriors must win at least one as well. Basically, the Warriors have to match the record of Dallas in these final three contests.

Dallas mostly has a cakewalk in these final three games. Detroit owns the third-worst record in the NBA and although they did recently give the Philadelphia 76ers the business in a 102-94 win, they’re not a team that has anything left to play for. Not to mention, Detroit is dealing with a multitude of injuries at the moment. Portland is pretty much in the same situation as Detroit, where they’ve shut a few guys down for the season and they’re just not actively trying to win games at this point in the season. That leaves the Spurs left, who have already clinched a play-in birth.

Tonight, Golden State has their last regular-season home game against the Lakers, who I am fully expecting to be completely checked out as they prepare for their early vacations.

The Warriors control their own destiny and if they’re as serious about winning the title this year as they say they are, they’ll find a way to take care of business and hold onto that #3 spot.

Stephen Curry Injury Update

The Warriors recently gave an update on Stephen Curry’s injury status and while they did rule him out for the remainder of the regular season, they’ll give another update on his status on Monday, April, 11. Curry has reportedly been doing well in his rehabilitation efforts and I think Warriors fans can expect their star guard back for the beginning of the playoffs.

“We were hoping maybe he’d play one or two games at the end of the regular season. But that was always a longshot. His rehab is going fine”, said coach Steve Kerr. It’s not a guarantee he’ll be back for the first playoff game, but he seems to be on track to be back relatively soon.

“Steph has been injured many times either before or during the playoffs in the past and he’s always returned really well, so I’m not too worried about him. All it takes is one made shot and he’s back in rhythm”, said Kerr about his star guard. While nobody within the organization is giving the impression they’re worried about Curry, there will be questions about him until he proves he’s healthy again by performing on the floor.

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