Friday, June 21 2024

What we learned as Warriors beat Jazz to secure No. 10 seed originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO – And with that, the 2023-24 NBA regular season has come to a close and the postseason begins.

The Warriors, without a resting Steph Curry and Draymond Green, held off the Utah Jazz for a 123-116 win Sunday at Chase Center. The win gave the Warriors a 46-36 record to end the regular season.

The Warriors’ win, as well as the Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Lakers’ victories Sunday, locks Golden State into the No. 10 seed, setting up a win-or-go-home Western Conference Play-In Tournament matchup between the Warriors and Kings at 7 p.m. PT on Tuesday night at Golden 1 Center.

Golden State went 1-3 in four games where both Curry and Green didn’t play this season.

Klay Thompson scored a team-high 25 points in two-plus quarters on 7-of-13 shooting overall and was 6 of 12 from 3-point range. Andrew Wiggins added 19 points on 6-of-11 shooting in limited minutes, and a handful of other Warriors provided points as well.

Jonathan Kuminga, who was questionable to begin the day and has dealt with a handful of bumps and bruises recently, was held scoreless on four shots but set a career-high with seven assists.

Here are three takeaways from the Warriors’ regular-season finale.

Klay’s Big Day

Whenever the Warriors are without Curry, somebody has to step up on offense. Thompson took that challenge head-on and found his rhythm to tie a bow on the regular season. What helped him early was the free-throw line.

Thompson only made one of his four 3-point attempts in the first quarter, but hit all five of his free throws. The second quarter is when Thompson began heating up, going 3 of 4 from deep, giving him 19 points going into halftime. He then made two more threes in the first four-plus minutes of the third quarter before coming out for good at the 7:34 mark.

In a season full of ups and downs, Thompson certainly ended on a high note. Sunday was the third time in the past four games that Thompson scored 25 points or more. His 25 points puts his season average at 17.9 points per game on 43.2-percent shooting and 38.7-percent behind the 3-point line.

Thompson averaged 17.0 points against the Kings this season, but made only five of his 14 shot attempts the last time these two teams played each other.

Golden Opportunity

The Warriors’ path forward became quite clear by halftime. The Kings led the Portland Trail Blazers by 28 points and the Los Angeles Lakers held a 17-point lead on the New Orleans Pelicans. Kerr still trotted out his starting lineup to start the second half, but players like Lester Quinones and Pat Spencer also saw the floor in the third quarter.

Quinones scored 12 points in 17 minutes, and Spencer scored two points in 15 minutes. Gui Santos added 13 points in 24 minutes off the bench. Dario Saric’s 12 points in reserve were his most since Jan. 25.

Usman Garuba, whose two-way contract was converted into a standard NBA deal Sunday, played five minutes. Garuba grabbed four rebounds and scored one point at the free-throw line.

What’s Next?

Just another date up the road in Sacramento for the second straight season. The Warriors will play their Northern California rival Kings on the road Tuesday night, one year after beating the Kings in the first round of the playoffs. The cowbells will come out and the environment will test sound barriers.

The Warriors and Kings split their four-game regular-season series. Golden State got the better of Sacramento the first two times, the second and fifth game of the season, but the Kings came out on top the next two times – on Nov. 28 and Jan. 25. Both those games were decided by one point.

The Kings, however, will be without two key sharpshooters Tuesday night.

Malik Monk sustained a sprained MCL on March 29, and was deemed out four-to-six weeks following the injury. Kevin Huerter will miss the remainder of the season after undergoing left shoulder surgery in late March. Monk averaged 19.0 points against the Warriors in last year’s playoffs, and Huerter averaged 16.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists in the Kings’ two wins against the Warriors this season.

These two teams know the blueprint of beating one another and now have one last battle to either extend their season or watch it come to an end. The winner will play the loser of the Lakers vs. Pelicans play-in game. Either way, the Warriors’ path to the playoffs will be on the road, which has been a second home for them throughout the season.

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Source: Yahoo Sports

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