Whether or not you’ve bought into the In-Season tournament yet, Tuesday’s game has the most significant stakes yet for both the Warriors and the Kings. The Pacific Division foes face off at Golden 1 Center, in a deciding game that will determine who advances to the knockout stage.
That much is pretty straightforward, but there are a few different ways it could shake out.
Let’s start by reminding you that the Warriors are one of five teams in Group C. The Kings lead the group with a 3-0 record. The Warriors and Wolves are tied at 2-1. The Thunder (1-2) and Spurs (0-4) have already been eliminated.
The top team in each group advances to the knockout stage. Additionally, in each conference, the teams with the best respective record who don’t top their groups also make the knockout stage as wild cards.
The Warriors must win to advance. If they beat the Kings and the Thunder beat the Wolves, both the Warriors and Kings would be 3-1, and the Warriors would advance thanks to their head-to-head record.
If the Warriors win and the Wolves beat the Thunder, the Wolves, Warriors and Kings would all have a 3-1 record. All three teams would also be 1-1 against each other. It would then go to the next tiebreaker which is point differential. After three games, the Kings boast the best point differential among those three teams at plus-29, followed by the Warriors (plus-5) and Wolves (minus-3).
In the situation above, if the Warriors were to not finish top in point differential, there is still an outside chance they could make the wild card, but it’s unlikely. They would have to finish with a better point differential than the Suns, who currently sit atop with wild-card standings at 3-1 and a plus-34.
Confused? Here’s the simplest breakdown via Anthony Slater.