If there’s any beckon of light that’s going to shine through in the next few weeks, as two-time Stephen Curry continues to be out of the lineup, it’s that the Golden State Warriors should be safe from the play-in tournament.
Should be are the key words, even that’s not a guarantee though, considering they lost on the road to the league’s worst team, the Orlando Magic.
The Warriors started off the season so strongly that, despite potentially a rough last few weeks, they should be safe from the play-in tournament.
For a good chunk of the first half of the season, the Warriors were the top team in the Western Conference, having taken down just about every other major contender.
When they lost four-time All-Star forward Draymond Green for more than a month and a half, early-to-mid January to mid-March, things started taking a turn for the worst. The Suns then Grizzlies jumped them in the standings.
Green has since returned, and the Warriors had limited time with both Green and Curry together as Marcus Smart’s “dangerous” play will likely resulted in the star guard being out for the remainder of the regular season.
Still, despite having many of their cornerstone players miss time, the Warriors’ red-hot start should help them avoid a play-in situation. They were the No. 8 seed in last season’s play-in tournament and were knocked out after a loss to the Lakers then one to the Grizzlies.
Entering the Thursday slate of games, the Warriors were 2 games up on the Jazz, 3 games up on the Mavericks, and 4.5 games up on the Nuggets. The team Golden State has to worry about is Minnesota, who they’re 5.5 games ahead of.
They’re 12 games ahead of the 8th place Clippers, so the race not to get 7th is the one heating up. The Warriors have the 11th-toughest schedule remaining and are still among 1 of the 3 teams that have only single-digit home losses.
They only have 3 home games left as well. Winning just 3 or 4 of these games will ensure Minnesota doesn’t jump them in case a collapse without Curry happens.
Nonetheless, the important thing is that Curry is healthy for the playoffs because, as we’ve seen recently, they’re going to need him to be competing for a title this postseason.