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The Mavericks are hot on their heels, but here’s how the Warriors can secure the No. 3 seed

SAN FRANCISCO — The Warriors’ final home game of the nationally televised regular season against the Lakers was not the advertised marquee matchup. But Golden State’s 128-112 win on Thursday kept their hopes alive of securing third place in the Western Conference with just two regular-season games left.

Golden State will finish the season No. 3 or No. 4, which ensures home field advantage at least in the first round. Which seed they fall into will be decided during this weekend’s back-to-back road trip against the San Antonio Spurs and New Orleans Pelicans.

Now, one game ahead of the Dallas Mavericks (50-30) in third place, the Warriors can grab the No. 3 seed if they win the season. Playing against the tanked Portland Trail Blazers and Spurs, the Mavericks could take on those three seeds if they win both games and the Warriors lose at least one of their last two games.

“We’ll try to win all three games,” said coach Steve Kerr. “We just got into this thinking, let’s build momentum. If we could capitalize on those last two wins and go into the next week on a winning streak, I think that would do us really good. But whatever happens to the seeding, it happens and we’re just going to play who we’re going to play against.

The fact that Klay Thompson, Otto Porter Jr. and Andre Iguodala have to pause at least one game in the duel is a disadvantage for the Warriors. While Kerr may choose to split the trio’s rest days, the Warriors are just finding their feet offensively without Steph Curry.

Every game without Thompson — who has 69 points in his last two games — and Porter Jr. attack Golden State’s scoring chances when they need goalscorers most.

And Golden State’s ball movement has been efficient and fluid since Iguodala’s return.

The Warriors’ short bench disadvantage could easily be neutralized if New Orleans and San Antonio decide to seed some boys of their own. The Spurs and Pelicans secured the No. 9 and No. 10 spots, respectively, ensuring they will face off in one of the Western Conference’s two play-in games.

When the Warriors visit San Antonio on Saturday, the Spurs will also be in the first leg of a back-to-back and play the Dallas Mavericks the next day. With their break-in on April 13, Spurs could decide to rest a few everyday players like Dejounte Murray and Jakob Poeltl.

More likely, however, is that the Warriors will face a Pelicans team resting their stars on the final day of the season. New Orleans may have starters like Brandon Ingram and Jonas Valanciunas for Sunday’s game.

https://www.mercurynews.com/2022/04/07/the-mavericks-are-on-their-tail-but-heres-how-the-warriors-can-lock-in-the-no-3-seed/ The Mavericks are hot on their heels, but here’s how the Warriors can secure the No. 3 seed

Joel McCord

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