HomeBasketball TodayWarriors Set to Dominate 2024 NBA Play-In Tournament Showdown with Kings

Warriors Set to Dominate 2024 NBA Play-In Tournament Showdown with Kings

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Last-minute predictions for Warriors’ NBA Play-In battle vs. Kings

The Golden State Warriors‘ 2023-24 campaign has had it all. It featured controversy, drama, enormous challenges, constant rumors, breakout performances and rousing basketball down the stretch. Regardless of how everything shakes out, this has been a vitally important campaign.

However, none of that seems relevant right now, with their NBA Play-In Tournament matchup against the Sacramento Kings quickly approaching. The trials and tribulations this team has endured could be the difference in Tuesday’s win-or-go-home battle in the Golden 1 Center, but the Warriors will be perceived quite differently depending on this outcome.

If they oust their rivals, defeat either the New Orleans Pelicans or Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night and then make actual noise in the playoffs, fans can still look fondly upon this season. Changes could still be made, but the infrastructure the organization has put in place should keep optimism high. But if they fall to the struggling and shorthanded Kings in the Play-In, the tone shifts dramatically.

Ownership might have to make some huge decisions that can alter the Warriors as we know them. Building on a successful second half to the season can delay this scenario, possibly for a couple years. Therefore, this California clash has immense ramifications beyond just being eliminated from playoff contention.

We are going to delve a little deeper into it, as we offer our bold predictions for the Warriors’ first, and potentially only, NBA Play-in Tournament game.

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Warriors will take care of the ball vs. Kings

Golden State ranks 23rd in the league with 14.3 turnovers per game, according to NBA.com, and is battling the 2023-24 steals leader in De’Aaron Fox. That does not bode well for the Dubs’ bad ball security habits, but they have the necessary experience and playmakers to limit their mistakes in a high-pressure atmosphere.

Steph Curry and Chris Paul will not be surprised by anything the defense throws at them at this stage of their Hall of Fame careers. Head coach Steve Kerr has surely been harping on turnovers the last couple of days as well. The veterans of this squad must step up and allow the youngsters to ease into this rabid environment.

I believe they will. Sacramento does a decent job of forcing its opponents into blunders, which fuels its injury-ridden offense. The Warriors can establish the flow of the game by keeping their turnover total in the 10-12 range. That will put the onus on the Kings to operate effectively in their half-court set, something that is significantly more taxing without the modern-day microwave, Malik Monk.

Brandin Podziemski will heat back up

Golden State Warriors guard Brandin Podziemski (2) dribbles against the Charlotte Hornets during the first quarter at Chase Center.
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Although it is remarkable to see Steph Curry continue to perform at a superstar level while playing 74 games, Draymond Green shoot over 39 percent from behind the 3-point line and Klay Thompson grind through his struggles, the biggest takeaway from the regular season is the team’s youth movement.

Jonathan Kuminga headlines the breakthroughs, but multiple rookies have earned considerable responsibilities this year. Brandin Podziemski is primed to make an impact in Sacramento.

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The No. 19 pick in the 2024 NBA Draft scored 9.2 points on 45.4 percent shooting to go with 5.8 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 26.6 minutes per contest. Podziemski has just 21 points in his last three games combined, but he should have some opportunities to exploit the Kings’ spotty defense. His offensive versatility figures to be critical in this must-win No. 9-10 showdown, as he can inflict damage at the rim or from distance.

While it does seem unreasonable to call a 21-year-old who is appearing in his first playoff-like matchup an X-factor, he can give the Warriors a clear edge in bench points. Decisively winning that statistical category should enable this group to make additional travel arrangements.

Andrew Wiggins, Warriors will keep De’Aaron Fox in check

De’Aaron Fox unequivocally announced his star status last year when he helped Sacramento earn its first postseason berth since 2006. The 26-year-old point guard slipped under the radar in 2023-24, though. His numbers were still superb, but the public’s love affair with the Kings has waned. Even so, Golden State fans remain fully aware of Fox’s ability.

The 2022-23 All-NBA Third-Team selection has been known to erupt against the Warriors. His underwhelming outing in Game 7 of the playoffs last April (fought through injury) should not overshadow his overall brilliance in that tense series. A healthy Fox is going to produce, but Andrew Wiggins will make sure he does not electrify the home crowd.

For over a year now, the narrative has been “wait until Wiggins returns to being his old self.” He does not have to reclaim that peak, though, in order to be a genuine difference-maker for this franchise. The former No. 1 pick has proven that he can still put points on the board. What Steve Kerr needs from him on Tuesday, however, is to execute a defensive clinic.

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I see a reversal of roles in this Warriors-Kings collision, with Domantas Sabonis having a big night and Fox fading a bit as the action progresses. Golden State can accept that.

Restricting the backcourt is how this squad can keep the diminishing dynasty chatter going for at least a few more days. Tip-off is set for 10 p.m. ET.

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