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sport / / BANG/Kurtenbach: The Warriors are surging toward a best-case scenario

o BANG/Kurtenbach: The Warriors are surging toward a best-case scenarioAllen

BANG/Kurtenbach: The Warriors are surging toward a best-case scenario


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From: (Allen)
Subject: BANG/Kurtenbach: The Warriors are surging toward a best-case scenario
Date: Wed, 10 Apr 2024 19:39:11 -0700
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 by: Allen - Thu, 11 Apr 2024 02:39 UTC

Kurtenbach: The Warriors are surging toward a best-case scenario
Golden State Warriors: After a season of fighting for the No. 10 seed,
the Warriors have a decent shot to finish No. 8 in the Western Conference.
>Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors reacts after making a
three-point shot against the Los Angeles Lakers in the first half at Arena on April 09, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO
USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or
using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of
the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

PUBLISHED: April 10, 2024 at 6:00 a.m. | UPDATED: April 10, 2024 at 1:20

There’s only so much excitement a team destined for the NBA’s play-in
tournament can deserve.

But right now, the Warriors deserve all of it.

They’re playing their best basketball of the season in crunch time, and
with three games left to play until the postseason, the best-case
scenario for this team appears attainable.

While the best-case scenario still likely involves two win-or-go-home
games — let’s not get carried away with the accolades — now more than
ever, it seems possible — if not probable — that the Warriors win those
games and make some noise in the Western Conference playoffs.

Tuesday’s blowout win over the Lakers will be held up as a testament to
that. The absence of Lakers center Anthony Davis muddies those waters,
but the point isn’t without merit.

Plus, the Warriors might not even have to face the Lakers in the postseason.

Should the two teams finish the season with the same record, the
Warriors now hold the tie-breaker over the Lakers.

And if the Warriors go 3-0 to finish (at Portland, vs. New Orleans, vs.
Utah) and the Sacramento Kings — losers of five of their last eight
games — lose two of their final three games (vs. New Orleans, Phoenix,
Portland), the Warriors can jump to the No. 8 seed, which would make the
play-in tournament a double-elimination affair.

It would also set up a series with the No. 2 seed in the West, which is
likely to be determined in Wednesday’s game between the Nuggets and

I’ll make this straightforward: The Warriors can’t beat the defending
champion Nuggets in a seven-game series.

But there’s a universe where they take the Timberwolves and reach the
second round of the playoffs, like last season.

Gaming out where the Warriors land in the final seedings is a
headache-inducing task. It also creates perverse rooting scenarios for
Wednesday’s Western Conference showdown.

Are the Warriors betting on themselves? Then go Nuggets.

Do they expect to play two Play-In Tournament games? Then go Timberwolves.

What a mess.

“We need a little help, obviously,” Steve Kerr said. “Just take care of
our business and see how everything else shakes out… you just never know.” says that if the Warriors do win out, they have a 51
percent chance of taking the No. 8 seed.

Slightly better than even — what a perfect encapsulation of this season.

It’s notable, if not downright incredible after six months, that with a
hot stretch of play, anchored around Draymond Green on defense (and,
apparently, on Tuesday night, on offense, too) and the resurgent play of
Klay Thompson, this Warriors team that had to fight so hard to simply
make the postseason could find itself in a scenario where it’s
one-and-done in the play-in tournament, but in a good way. A win in the
7-vs.-8 game advances a team directly to a first-round series.

Even if luck doesn’t go the Warriors’ way (or they lose a game), a No. 9
vs. No. 10 matchup in the PIT will likely be at Chase Center.

Say what you will about the Dubs and their home record this season, but
if you have to win one game to continue your season, you’d prefer to
sleep in your own bed the night before and have your own fans cheering
you on during that contest.

It’s not Oracle Arena, but Chase Center is still a brutal place to play
for opposing teams in big games.

If nothing else, team CEO Joe Lacob will appreciate the extra gate
revenue — this is the most expensive team in NBA history, after all.

Draymond Green’s 3-point uptick is a group effort
Warriors shoot the lights out in historic way to hold off Lakers
Klay Thompson erupts to lead Warriors past Jazz
‘He needed it’: Why Warriors decided to rest Steph Curry against Jazz
Advancing up the play-in? There’s still a path for Warriors

But that stuff will sort itself out by Sunday night.

In the meantime, there’s no doubt that this veteran-led team is turning
it up at just the right time.

Over the last 10 games, the Warriors have the No. 6 defensive rating
(108 points per 100 possessions) and the No. 6 net rating (plus-9 points
per 100 possessions) in the league.

It’s not championship-quality play, but it’s enough to get close to one,
even in a loaded Western Conference.

These Warriors are adamant that this year’s team is better than last’s.
The Warriors’ issue is that the West improved, too, leaving them in the PIT.

But it also leaves them as a team with something to prove. These
Warriors — four-time champions who have lost one Western Conference
playoff series in a decade, will somehow go into this postseason playing
the role of a plucky underdog.

And it must be noted that the last two times no one expected much from
the Warriors in the playoffs — 2015 and 2022 — the Dubs ended the season
with a win and a trophy.

sport / / BANG/Kurtenbach: The Warriors are surging toward a best-case scenario


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