The Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs still have plenty on the line when they square off Saturday at San Antonio in the penultimate game of their regular seasons.
The matchup is the first of a season-ending back-to-back for both teams, and the results of Saturday’s game will go a long way in determining the seeds for the postseason. The Warriors already are in the main playoff field, while the Spurs are headed for the play-in tournament.
Golden State is looking to clinch third place in the West and had a half game lead on Dallas at the start of play Friday. If the Warriors and Mavericks end up tied after the regular season, Dallas will get the third seed after winning three of the four meetings in the regular season.
The Warriors (51-29) finish the season with two road games, culminating Sunday in New Orleans. Golden State concluded its home schedule on Thursday with a 128-112 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, when Klay Thompson produced 33 points.
“We’re just going into this thinking, ‘let’s build momentum,'” Golden State head coach Steve Kerr said. “If we could go into next week on a winning streak, I think that would serve us really well. But whatever happens with the seeding happens, and we’ll just play whoever we will play.”
Jordan Poole added 19 points and Andrew Wiggins had 17, while Draymond Green, Otto Porter Jr. and Gary Payton II scored 10 each for the Warriors in the win, their third straight after a four-game losing streak.
It was the fifth time this year Thompson has scored 33 or more points.
“I thought it was Klay’s best game,” Kerr added. “I know he’s scored more, but just in terms of the shot selection he just had his feet on the ground underneath him, his balance was great, his decision-making was really good. So, a lot of good things happening.”
The Spurs head back to San Antonio for their final home game of the season after a 127-121 loss at Minnesota on Thursday that snapped their five-game road winning streak.
Despite the loss, San Antonio (34-46) is still in the running for the ninth spot and a home game in the play-in tourney, but the Spurs will have to win their final two games and have New Orleans lose both of its final two. The Spurs own the tiebreaker with the Pelicans via a 3-1 edge in head-to-head play.
San Antonio knows it will be facing New Orleans in a one-game, do-or-die showdown, and at this point, it’s just a matter of where that game will be played.
The Spurs, playing without all-star guard Dejounte Murray (upper-respiratory illness) for the fourth straight game, rallied from 12 points down in the final 1:36, clawing to within four points with 8.4 seconds to play in a manic finish.
“Our tenacity and physicality were much better in the second half than in the first,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “I thought we were a little bit shy on that part of the game in the first half. We’ve stuck in games no matter who we’ve played. (My team) keeps playing.”
San Antonio got 20 points from Keldon Johnson in the loss while Devin Vassell added 18, Jakob Poeltl racked up 15 points and 17 rebounds, and Keita Bates-Diop and Tre Jones scored 14 each. Eight players amassed double-figure scoring for the Spurs.
–Field Level Media