Sports Out West

Warriors can clinch playoff spot against Jazz

Photo by Coolcaesar / Wikimedia Commons

The Golden State Warriors can clinch their playoff spot on Sunday night with a victory over the Utah Jazz at home. With a win, it would be their first playoff appearance since 2007 and only their second appearance in the NBA playoffs in the past 19 seasons.

The Warriors (44-32) are currently 4.5 games ahead of the ninth-place Jazz (40-37) in the Western Conference standings. With the San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies all already punching their ticket to this year’s NBA playoffs, the Warriors could be the next team to join the group with a win against the Jazz.

In their first meeting of the season, the Warriors came out on top with a 94-83 victory the day after Christmas. Led by Stephen Curry’s 23 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, Golden State handed Utah with their third loss of the season at home. In their second matchup of the season almost two months later, the Jazz rectified their embarrassing loss at home with a decisive 115-101 victory, giving the Warriors their sixth-straight loss.

The last Warriors team to make the playoffs was the 2006-07 squad that featured Baron Davis, Stephen Jackson and Al Harrington and upset the No. 1-seeded Dallas Mavericks before losing to the Jazz in the Western Conference semifinals. This year, the Jazz may serve as the Warriors’ gatekeeper to clinching a spot in the postseason.

Follow and interact with Austin Chang on Twitter @_austinchang.

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Austin Chang

Austin Chang is the Associate Editor of Sports Out West and a San Francisco Bay Area-based sports journalist. His work can also be found on Yahoo! Sports and RamsTalk. Follow him on Twitter @_austinchang.