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Start thinking about that No. 2 seed, Warriors



The Western Conference number one seed, we hardly knew ye.

It appears that way, friends. With 16 games left for both the Warriors and the rival San Antonio Spurs, a glance at the remaining month of basketball shows an advantage for Gregg Popovich’s relentlessly Spurs-like crew of Spurs. Which figures, since they are the Spurs.

First off, San Antonio owns the tiebreaker over the Dubs. Their two wins over Golden State already guarantees them the season series. In discussing the season series, we run the risk of re-opening the whole “WHY REST STEPH/KLAY/DRAYMOND???” wound, and quite frankly, after two days of that wound hemorrhaging on KNBR, I think we’re all ready for a tourniquet.

Let’s discuss what happens from here, with the following edict: To secure the 1 seed, the Dubs must be one game better than San Antonio from here on out. Spurs go 13-3? Warriors have to go 14-2. Spurs stumble, go 11-5? Dubs can go 12-4 and be the kings of the West.

Tonight, the Warriors are home for what any sane basketball mind would call a “feel good week.” In come the Sixers, Magic and Bucks, all with Steve Kerr and the boys having the luxury of still getting their burritos at Cactus in Rockridge, or their sandwiches at Bakesale Betty. Home, sweet, home.

Things, however, get weird later in the month.

On March 26 in Oakland, they host Memphis. Never super fun. Then, on Tuesday, March 28 and Wednesday, March 29, they have a road back-to-back at — are you sitting down? — Houston and then San Antonio. Yup. Big boy stuff. If the Spurs beat the Warriors in Texas on March 29, essentially gaining two games on them in one game, you might start thinking about that 7 seed race between Memphis and Oklahoma City as your unappetizing first round matchup.

We won’t even add that the Warriors then play Houston at home on March 31, then the underrated Washington Wizards on April 2. Not easy. Plus, the sight of the Wizards will remind everyone of the March 1 game in our nation’s capital, aka The Night They Threw Ol’ Zaza Down.

What about the Spurs, you ask?

Their path is a little cleaner, sadly.

While they do have six road games in their final 16, and they do have two back-to-back sets (at Memphis Saturday, home vs Sacramento Sunday; then home vs Memphis on April 4 and home vs the Lakers on April 5), there is little in the way of gruel. They do have a week that goes: home vs Cleveland on March 27; home vs the Dubs on March 29; at OKC on March 31. There’s some meat on that bone, for sure.

But putting on my best green visor handicap hat, I’d guess the Spurs are in shape to go 12-4 down the stretch. Can the Warriors go 13-3 down the stretch? Without Kevin Durant?

Not bloody likely.

Does that mean the NBA championship parade is gone, poof, just like that? No way. As we all know, the playoffs are an entirely different beast, and anything can happen, as I was just saying to my good friends Draymond Green, Marshawn Lynch and Bob Myers in a luxury suite at an A’s game.

Heck, the Spurs didn’t even keep their appointment in the Western Conference finals last year. There’s a school of thought that the aged legs of Tony Parker, Manu Ginobli and Pau Gasol will feel the burn in late May, and the Warriors will benefit from not chasing 73 wins, and surge to the finish like a great sprinter.

It’s all part of the fun. Just don’t count on that 1 seed. Start finding new paths to glory, sports fans.