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Golden State Warriors clinch playoff spot after win over Thunder

Warriors

The Golden State Warriors’ quest for a third straight NBA championship moves forward. The Dubs officially clinched a playoff spot with their 110-88 win against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

This is the Warriors’ seventh consecutive appearance in the playoffs, which is a new franchise record.

Despite missing the services of Kevin Durant, the Warriors had no problems taking care of the Thunder. Steph Curry led all scorers with 33 points on 10-23 shooting, including 5-12 from deep. Klay Thompson, who passed Peja Stojakovic on the all-time made 3-pointers list, added 23 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and three steals.

The Dubs notched their 47th win of the season and are now one game ahead of the Denver Nuggets for the top spot in the Western Conference. Golden State would have the head-to-head tiebreaker if the teams finish tied at the end of the regular season.

Another aspect of the Warriors’ win over OKC is more subtle in the Western Conference playoff picture, but not less important: Golden State would love to push OKC into the No. 6 or 7 slot. This would mean that if the Houston Rockets finish second or third in the West (probably third), the Rockets and OKC would have to play each other before facing the Warriors, either in the first or second round. Golden State would therefore avoid at least one of those teams in the playoffs, if not both.

Oklahoma City (42-28) is fifth in the West, but only one game ahead of the sixth-place San Antonio Spurs (41-29).

Golden State is chasing a huge milestone this season: It is attempting to be the fourth team in league history to win three straight titles. However, the road won’t be easy; several teams have either improved their play or their roster (or both) to try to dethrone the Dubs.

Oklahoma City is one of those teams. The Thunder are considered by many as the biggest threat to the Warriors in the West. However, they put up very little fight in Saturday night’s game; they struggled to defend the Dubs’ offensive onslaught.

The playoffs are just a few weeks away, and once again, the Warriors have a lot of targets on their backs. But they’ve been here for the past couple of seasons, so expect them to try to withstand everything their opponents will throw at them.

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