NBA Playoffs

How Warriors, Kings can clinch top-10 playoff seed Friday

NBC Universal, Inc.

As the 2023-24 NBA season approaches the finish line, the Western Conference playoff race is coming down to the wire.

The wobbly West is anyone's game with just three contests separating the No. 6 and No. 10 seeds. The Phoenix Suns currently possess the sixth and final playoff spot that avoids the NBA play-in tournament, with the New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors knocking at the door.

Sacramento (44-32) continues its pursuit of the sixth seed, while Golden State (42-34) pushes to keep its postseason hopes alive. Both teams can clinch at least a play-in berth Friday night.

The Warriors, who face the Dallas Mavericks for the second time in four days, can clinch a top-10 seed with a win and a Houston Rockets loss.

Meanwhile, the Kings can clinch a top-10 spot with a win against the Boston Celtics or a Rockets loss.

Houston, who has cooled down from its recent eye-popping hot stretch, is four games behind the final play-in spot. Just last week, the Rockets' 11-game win streak put them right at the heels of the Warriors' 10th spot.

Now, the Warriors could play a role in ending their postseason aspirations. The Rockets potentially could be eliminated from playoff contention if they fall to the Miami Heat and the Warriors win Friday night.

The NBA playoffs don't officially begin until late April, but these final regular-season games will have a playoff-like feel with the stakes growing increasingly high.

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