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Klay: Don't see anyone beating us 'when healthy'

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Published in Basketball
Saturday, 08 April 2023 01:05

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The Golden State Warriors won't know until Sunday if they will finish the regular season as a top-six seed in the Western Conference or compete in the play-in tournament. But either way, the team is confident it is finally hitting its stride.

"I don't see a team who can beat us in a seven-game series when we're healthy," Klay Thompson said.

The Warriors have won seven of their past nine games, including a 22-point victory over the short-handed Sacramento Kings on Friday night. The Warriors are on the brink of having their whole roster back together and are a win away from avoiding the play-in.

Thompson added that the team can play at a higher level despite a turbulent regular season. The main area for improvement is playing with focus for as much of a full game as possible.

In their 119-97 win over the Kings on Friday, "careless" was the word used to describe Sacramento's run in the second quarter. After building a 32-16 lead in the first quarter, a number of costly turnovers (the Warriors finished with 24) and a 3-point shooting barrage by the Kings cut the Warriors' 17-point advantage to five by halftime.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr warned before the game that there was "no excuse" for his team to let its guard down.

Donte DiVincenzo said that at halftime Kerr told the Warriors, "You guys know what's at stake. You guys are going to pick this up in the second half."

"That's a message we needed to hear," DiVincenzo said. "But we shouldn't have to turn it around at halftime. We're a good enough team. We can be a great team. We just have to start that way."

Carelessness was also a topic after the Warriors' setback in Denver earlier this week and after their loss to Minnesota the week prior.

"We've always been a team that lives on the edge," Kerr said. "We're a little wild, a little chaotic, but we've thrived in that chaos for many years. We just can't cross the edge. ... It's up to us. We have it in us. But the focus, the attention to detail, it all has to be there."

DiVincenzo admitted that with so many teams resting key players through the final stretch of the regular season, it's easy to look past games. That's likely what happened against the Nuggets, who were without Nikola Jokic.

Sacramento rested Domantas Sabonis, De'Aaron Fox, Kevin Huerter and Malik Monk.

Portland's injury report for its Saturday game against the LA Clippers lists nine players as out, including Damian Lillard, Jerami Grant and Anfernee Simons. The Blazers have been eliminated from postseason contention.

This should be a contest the Warriors easily win despite their road woes this season.

In Thompson's opinion, the three main pillars they have to focus on are valuing the ball, not settling for bad shots and communicating on defense.

"If we do that, we will be in a great position to repeat," he said.

But before going for back-to-back titles, the Warriors need a win against Portland to secure a seeding no lower than No. 6. If the Clippers lose either their Saturday game against the Trail Blazers or their Sunday matchup against the Phoenix Suns, the Warriors could climb to the 5-seed.

However, if the Warriors lose Sunday and the Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans pick up wins, Golden State could fall back into the play-in.

"It's a good problem to have for us -- we can control our own destiny," DiVincenzo said. "We just go in and try to win the game and we get what we want. And what we want is to not be in that play-in game."

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