Klay using Warriors' last regular-season games as playoff prep


With four NBA championships under his belt, Warriors veteran Klay Thompson certainly knows what it takes to get ready for the playoffs.

And while Golden State teeters on the edge of an outright postseason berth, the Splash Bro plans on using his team's last nine regular-season games as the best kind of prep.

First up? The Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday at American Airlines Center. The Warriors, No. 6 in the Western Conference, will face the No. 7-seeded Mavericks in a head-to-head clash that will determine the season tiebreaker, as both squads have 36 losses on the season.

"Well, as a competitor, you relish in the moments of the most important games, and we're coming down to the home stretch," Thompson said of Wednesday's pivotal matchup. "Every game is so vital for our playoff stakes, and it's exciting times. I mean, the postseason, there's nothing like it, and these last seven or eight [games] will be a great warmup for the most competitive basketball out there."

The Warriors are less than a year removed from hoisting the Larry O'Brien trophy as 2022 NBA Finals champions. Their title defense during the 2022-23 NBA season hasn't gone exactly to plan, however, with an away record similar to some of the worst teams in the league.

But a 121-108 win over the Houston Rockets on Monday at Toyota Center got the Warriors back on track on the road and helped them avoid a historically bad losing streak. Now, Golden State will try to keep things rolling while remaining out of the play-in tournament yet still in the playoff picture as one of the West's top six seeds.

At this time last season, the Warriors had 12 fewer losses and held the West's No. 3 seed. But they still faced plenty of doubters and dealt with injuries to key players down the stretch. Thompson himself still was getting his legs back under him after returning from devastating back-to-back injuries just a couple of months earlier, and this season, he has proven he's back to his sharp-shooting ways.

Just like last year, Thompson is hungry for another title -- though these days, he's even healthier.

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In addition to the Mavericks, the Warriors play the top-seeded Denver Nuggets and No. 3 Sacramento Kings in their final nine games, as well as the Minnesota Timberwolves and Oklahoma City Thunder, who also are on Golden State's heels in the postseason picture.

With that being said, the season's final stretch will be a good measure of what's to come for the Warriors in the playoffs. But Thompson and Co. have faced this kind of pressure before, and that kind of experience goes far when it comes to preparation.

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