The Norman Transcript

National Sports

April 1, 2014

Golden State wearing down during season’s stretch


OAKLAND, Calif. —

The Warriors (45-28) began Monday in sixth place in the tight Western Conference standings with nine games remaining. While they were only two games back of fifth-place Portland, they were also just two games from being out of the playoff picture as they head to Dallas and San Antonio.

“We’ll see where we end up. We feel like we’re good enough,” said reserve Draymond Green, who has played both forward positions and center during this recent rash of injuries. “The urgency level is high, and we’ve got to continue to rise to that.”

Losses to teams with losing records — particularly at home — are adding up almost as fast as injuries.

Those bad defeats at Oracle Arena include games against sub.-500-teams such as New York, Cleveland, Charlotte, Denver and Minnesota. The Warriors also lost twice at home when San Antonio rested all or some of its starters, which are the sort of setbacks that could put Jackson’s job in jeopardy if they miss the playoffs.

“We’ve lost some games to teams that we’re better than,” Jackson said. “We are developing and we certainly own the fact that we’ve lost some games that we should have won.”

The Warriors are still on pace to surpass last season’s 47-35 record, when they finished sixth in the West and upset Denver in the first round of the playoffs before losing to the Spurs in six games. But the conference is far better and far deeper than last season, and one team with at least 47 wins likely will get left out.

Phoenix (44-30) and Dallas (44-30) entered Monday only 1 1/2 games behind the Warriors. Memphis (43-30) was one-half game behind the Suns and Mavericks for the final playoff seeds.

After the tough two-game trip through Texas, the schedule goes in Golden State’s favor the rest of the way. Six of its final seven games are against teams with losing records, and four of those seven are at home, though that hasn’t always translated into wins this season.

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