Steph sums up Warriors' frantic playoff chase with two words


Steph Curry and the Warriors have found themselves in unfamiliar territory this season.

Golden State is 37-36 through 73 games and needs every possible win down the stretch to secure its playoff positioning. The Warriors currently sit in the Western Conference No. 6 playoff seed but are just a half-game ahead of the seventh-place Oklahoma City Thunder and one-and-a-half games ahead of the 11th-place Los Angeles Lakers.

“It’s inspiring and depressing all at the same time,” Curry said after Warriors practice on Tuesday. “You still feel like you’re in it, which we are. You still feel like we can peak at the right time. There’s a lot of confidence in that.

“But it’s also … you don’t want to be in a situation with everything that we’ve accomplished and the idea of who we are that we’re checking the standings for the last 20 games to see if we’re in or out of the play-in tournament,” Curry said. “It’s weird in that sense.”

The Warriors have missed the playoffs twice since Curry first took the franchise to the postseason bracket in 2013. Golden State won just 15 games in 2019-20 when Curry missed all but five contests with a broken hand and Klay Thompson was sidelined with a torn ACL. The next season, without Thompson again, the Warriors lost the right to play in a best-of-seven playoff series by dropping back-to-back games in the play-in tournament.

The 2022-23 Warriors have dealt with plenty of turbulence. Curry has missed two significant stretches with shoulder and left leg injuries this season, Andrew Wiggins has been out since mid-February with personal issues and Gary Payton II, their prized trade-deadline acquisition, is still working his way back from a right adductor injury.

But for the most part, the core of Curry, Thompson and Draymond Green has shared the floor together with uninspiring results, shown by the team's glaring 8-29 road record. It's just not working as well as it once did.

The Warriors’ mission to defend their 2022 championship mostly went haywire this season. They are stuck in the middle of a stacked Western Conference that features six teams below Golden State still hanging around the playoff race. The bottom five seeds in the conference likely will be decided by a win or two.

But on a positive note, the Warriors still are standing with nine games to play. Opportunity is there for the taking. 

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“Every year has a different challenge and a different narrative,” Curry said. “This year, we do have an opportunity to finish strong, figure out who our playoff matchup will be and play our best basketball of the year.

“We have to stay locked in on that.”

Golden State has a chance to exorcize its road demons again Wednesday night when it visits the Dallas Mavericks (36-36) for a pivotal game at American Airlines Center.

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