A Look at the Warriors’ Playoff Picture - 4/15/21
Dubs Moved into a Tie for 9th Place in West After Three Straight Wins
See how the Dubs could figure into the NBA’s new playoff structure, what the final month of the season holds.
Momentum is on the Warriors’ side as they are on a three-game winning streak while recent Western Conference duels have moved the Dubs up in the standings with a little over a month remaining until the NBA’s Play-In Tournament (May 18-21) and start of the NBA Playoffs.
In this last week, the Warriors have played strong ball as the squad wrapped up their homestand with two straight wins, including a statement victory over the Denver Nuggets, for a 3-1 record on the homestand. They followed that up with another win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night to tip off their current five-game road trip.
The Dubs can continue to make strides as they wrap up the road back-to-back with tonight’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers (5 p.m., NBCSBA). Let’s take a look at what these games mean in comparison to the other teams also fighting for positioning standings and Play-In Game.
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Looking Around the Warriors
Entering Wednesday’s docket of games, the Warriors remained in the #10 spot, which is the final seed that would make the Play-In Tournament, with the New Orleans Pelicans sitting on the outside looking in at #11 and just one game behind them. But it’s been a tight race as the Dallas Mavericks (3.5 games ahead), Memphis Grizzlies (2.0 games back) and San Antonio Spurs (1.0) were well within striking distance of the Warriors.
But the race in the West has gotten interesting after all of these teams played on Wednesday night.
As Dub Nation is aware, the Warriors splashed their way to a win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, bringing the squad’s record to 27-28.
The #7 Mavericks had a matchup with the #8 Grizzlies in a game that could prove to have sizable implications for the Dubs’ seeding. Dallas won that battle on a buzzer-beating floating 3-pointer by Luka Dončić, dropping Memphis to 27-26. With the Grizzlies now just one game ahead of the Dubs, the team can set their eyes on moving into that #8 spot.
The Warriors are not alone though. After suffering a loss to the Toronto Raptors, the Spurs, who sat one game ahead of the Warriors prior to the night’s NBA action, now sit tied with the Dubs in ninth place.
Remember: the seventh- and eighth-seeded teams will be highly coveted among the Play-In Tournament teams as they will need to win only one game to secure a spot in the NBA Playoffs.
The Pelicans were handed a loss on Wednesday as well, falling to the New York Knicks. They now sit two games out of the tournament.
The Warriors play four more games against Eastern Conference opponents on their current road trip, which continues tonight through next Wednesday. The squad then returns home on Apr. 23 for first game of the season with fans in attendance at Chase Center when they have a rematch against the Denver Nuggets.
Dub Nation should keep a watchful eye on the following teams and matchups that will have potential impacts on the Warriors’ seeding:
at CHI (Apr. 16), at MIL (Apr. 17), vs. DEN (Apr. 19), at LAC (Apr. 21)
Memphis has a tough road schedule ahead of them: they start with a road game against the Chicago Bulls before taking on three straight NBA title contenders in the Milwaukee Bucks, Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers. Things will not get easier for them either as they then have a back-to-back against the Portland Trail Blazers. Any Memphis losses combined with Warriors wins in this next week move the Dubs closer to, or even provide a firmer grip over, the #8 spot.
San Antonio Spurs
vs POR (Apr. 16), at PHX (Apr. 17), at IND (Apr. 19), vs. MIA (Apr. 21)
Gregg Popovich’s squad has to start their next set of games with a back-to-back against two top teams in the West in the #6 Portland Trail Blazers and #2 Phoenix Suns. Immediately following that the Spurs face the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat, both of who will be playing for their own playoff seeding in the Eastern Conference.
New Orleans Pelicans
at WSH (Apr. 16), at NYK (Apr. 18), vs. BKN (Apr. 20)
The Pelicans also have a daunting week ahead of them. They start against the Washington Wizards, who are 4-1 over their last five contests headed into Thursday’s game. And after falling to the defensive juggernaut Knicks on Wednesday, New Orleans plays them again in a Sunday matinee before facing the Kevin Durant-led Brooklyn Nets. A New Orleans loss in any or all of these games provides cushioning for the Dubs and any teams that slip into the #10 spot.
There is much that could happen this week, but the Warriors could find themselves in a favorable position in the Western Conference come next Friday when the team welcomes Dub Nation back into Chase Center for their matchup against the Nuggets.
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