Can the Stephen Curry-Led Warriors Avoid The NBA Play-In Tournament?

Published 05/10/2021, 1:30 PM EDT
Jan 4, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) celebrates with Golden State Warriors forward Kevon Looney (5) and teammates after making a three point basket against the Sacramento Kings during the first quarter at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports


The Golden State Warriors were a lottery team last season and were close to repeating that this season. But the brilliance and stubbornness of Stephen Curry has them in the running for a playoff spot. Currently the eighth seed, they will need at least one win from the play-in tournament to advance to the playoffs.

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But what is the play-in tournament? The teams seeded from seven to ten will participate in the play-in tournament. The seventh and eighth seed will face off in the first game, and the winner will book a playoff spot as the seventh seed. The ninth and the tenth seed will then play, and the winner will face the loser of the first game in a battle for the eighth seed.

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This tournament was introduced as a way to make things easy for teams who may slide the standings due to COVID-19. As it stands, the Warriors are eighth and will face the Lakers in the play-in tournament. This is not a matchup they would want, and although they can win their second game and advance, it is always better to directly qualify. So is it possible? Not really, and here’s why.

Warriors peaked too late and have a bad head-to-head record against rivals

The Warriors have lost just one of their last five games and have 11 wins in their last 16 games. Despite a few initial losses, they outdid expectations in April, but this was mostly because of Steph’s fantastic performances. He averaged an absurd 37.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game last month, which is why the Warriors are now in the eighth spot.

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A few months ago, fans had accepted their fate as a ninth or tenth seed team because of how poorly the team performed except for Curry. But now he is proving yet again that he can carry the team by himself, which is why they have a 35-33 record. But sadly, this is too late for them.

To avoid the play-in tournament, the Warriors would have to overtake the Blazers and the best they can do is tie. Since they lost their season series against the Blazers, they cannot overtake them head-to-head and would be stuck at seventh, which is the best possible scenario right now.

Feb 13, 2021; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) sits in front of the team bench during a timeout against the Brooklyn Nets in the fourth quarter at the Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

So the Warriors will have to prepare for a play-in tournament clash against the Lakers, or maybe the Blazers. They will find out by the end of this week.

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Aaron Mathew

1666 articles

Aaron Mathew is a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Mass Media from Xavier’s College, Aaron has been a part of EssentiallySports since May 2020 where he covers both NBA and NCAA basketball news, and has also covered NBA 2K. In the past, Aaron has worked at the Sports Desk of Mumbai Mirror.

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