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HomeNewsWarriors' big questions in push for NBA playoff spot, avoiding play-in

Warriors’ big questions in push for NBA playoff spot, avoiding play-in

LOS ANGELES — The Warriors are on a mission to play past April 7. More specifically, though, the goal should be to avoid the play-in tournament at all costs.

The Warriors (29-29) are mired in play-in purgatory with just 24 games left of the regular season. FiveThirtyEight gives the Warriors a 72% chance of making the playoffs and a 5% chance of winning it all. Although they have the 13th best chance of making the postseason, they are still a top-seven favorite to claim the title.

Nothing about this season, however, suggests that a long-lasting winning streak is coming. The Warriors are projected by FiveThirtyEight to finish 43-39, tying for the sixth and final Western Conference playoff spot.

The Warriors believe that if they are healthy going into the playoffs, they have a chance in any seven-game series. But they’ve been way too inconsistent this season to take their chances in a win-or-go-home scenario that they could face in the play-in tournament.

The Warriors are currently in ninth place and would need to skip three teams to make the playoffs outright. They are one game behind the Dallas Mavericks, who are ranked sixth, and 2 1/2 games behind the fourth-placed Los Angeles Clippers.

Securing a top six place in the West is doable, but the Warriors will need to play much better in this final seven-week period than they did in the first four months of the season.

Keys to a postseason push, as outlined by Bay Area News Group reporter Shayna Rubin, include Andrew Wiggins returning to last year’s playoff form; Stephen Curry get and stay healthy; and the continued growth of Jonathan Kuminga.

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The Warriors will play six games — all against Western Conference foes — in nine days from the break, starting Thursday against the Los Angeles Lakers, who upgraded their roster before the trade deadline. This stretch, which the Warriors will start and possibly end without Curry, could be a defining moment of their season.

Here are three looming questions the Warriors must answer:

Can Golden State improve its defense?

The Warriors have lost too many close games this season because they couldn’t make enough stops on the stretch. That’s why repairing their rickety defense remains the main concern for coach Steve Kerr and his staff.

Golden State’s previous title runs have always been driven by the locked defense, but this year the Warriors posted their worst defensive rating in Draymond Green’s tenure.



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