The Golden State Warriors secured their spot in the playoffs on Monday night with just under a month still remaining in the regular season.
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Their position was made safe mid-way through the second quarter of their game against the Los Angeles Lakers, with news filtering through that the Oklahoma City Thunder had lost to the Dallas Mavericks.
“CLINCHED” appeared on the video board with the Oracle Arena crowd rising to their feet to give the players a standing ovation, although the players themselves merely had a quick glance and continued on their way.
The Warriors went on to defeat the Lakers to move to 53-13 for the season which keeps them six-and-a-half games above the Memphis Grizzlies for the first seed in the Western Conference.
Given that they have been the best team in the NBA for most of the season, they would welcome any challenge that they get in the playoffs, particularly with the added benefit of potentially having home court advantage throughout.
Steve Kerr’s men are likely to face either the Thunder or the New Orleans Pelicans in the first round as their battle for the eighth spot continues, but it is an indication of the difference in competitiveness levels that the Atlanta Hawks secured their playoff spot back on March 4 despite having a similar record.
Although there is a fascinating race developing in the East for the final few spots, the Warriors will want to hold on to the No.1 seed in the West and make the most of having the edge over their opponents as it will undoubtedly be a lot more difficult emerging from their conference.