San Antonio Spurs

NBA playoff picture 2019: Warriors' opponent comes down to final day

NBA playoff picture 2019: Warriors' opponent comes down to final day

The Warriors locked up the No. 1 seed in the West on Sunday night, but as the NBA reaches the final day of the regular season, they still don't know who will be coming to Oracle Arena this weekend in the playoffs.

The Clippers, Spurs and Thunder still are fighting for the No. 6 through 8 seeds in the Western Conference.

Oklahoma City stunned the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night, and now sit one game ahead of both San Antonio and Los Angeles.

The Spurs hold the tiebreaker over the Clippers, so they occupy the No. 7 seed at the end of business Tuesday.

If all three teams win their games Wednesday, the Clippers will be bound for Oakland.

But the other potential scenarios will make your head spin.

The Thunder face the Bucks at 5 p.m. PT, and the Spurs play the Mavericks at the same time. The Clippers host the Jazz at 7:30 p.m. PT.

So, the Warriors, who play in Memphis at 5 p.m. PT, could know their opponent by the time their game ends. If OKC and San Antonio win their games, the Clippers result is irrelevant.

There still is much to be decided atop the West, as well.

The Nos. 2, 3 and 4 seeds also will be up for grabs Wednesday night.

The Denver Nuggets will clinch the No. 2 seed with a win over the Timberwolves. A loss, however, would push them to the No. 3 seed. Meanwhile, after the Rockets' loss Tuesday, Houston can only secure the No. 2 seed if the Nuggets lose.

James Harden and Co. will get the No. 3 seed with a Nuggets win and a loss by the Portland Trail Blazers to the Sacramento Kings. If both the Nuggets and Blazers win, the Rockets will get the No. 4 seed --potentially facing the Warriors in the second round. 

If the Blazers beat the Kings and the Nuggets beat the T'Wolves then Portland will get the No. 3 seed, otherwise Rip City will get the fourth seed and face the Utah Jazz in the first round.

[RELATED: Warriors in familiar routine with Steph's injury]

Our advice: Buckle up, because Wednesday will be a wild night of scoreboard watching.

NBA playoff picture 2019: Scenarios for Warriors' first-round opponent

NBA playoff picture 2019: Scenarios for Warriors' first-round opponent

The Warriors have clinched the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference for the 2018-19 NBA playoffs. But with two regular-season games left, it's a still a mystery who they will face in the first round. 

A lot can happen with two days left, and that's quite the understatement. Plenty of teams are still battling for seeding in the West. Take a look at all the scenarios teams face going into the postseason. 

There are only three teams that should matter to the Warriors: Clippers, Thunder and Spurs. Those are the only three the reigning champs can face in Round 1.

Will we see Kevin Durant against Russell Westbrook right away? What about a battle of coaches in Steve Kerr and Gregg Popovich? Or will the Dubs face the Clippers in the playoffs for the first time since the end of the Mark Jackson era? 

[RELATED: Oral history of 'We Believe' Warriors' improbable 2007 NBA playoff run]

Keep your eyes peeled and your head on a swivel. There are only two days left -- anything can happen.

Kings Under Review: How Sacramento swept Spurs for first time ever

Kings Under Review: How Sacramento swept Spurs for first time ever

San Antonio -- Despite failing to reach their ultimate goal of reaching the postseason, the Sacramento Kings aren’t cashing in the season just yet. The San Antonio Spurs learned that the hard way Sunday evening at the AT&T Center. 

The Kings hung around in the third and then took a double-digit lead in the fourth. San Antonio rallied to go up late, but Sacramento responded with an 8-0 run to finish the game and complete a season series sweep of Spurs for the first time in franchise history.

The 113-106 victory moved the Kings back to within a game of the .500 mark at 38-39. It wasn’t perfect, but here are some positives and negatives from the win. 


The Finish

When the Kings blew a late lead, they easily could have cashed it in and let the playoff-bound Spurs steal the game. Instead, they hit back.

Sacramento played stunning defense down the stretch and multiple players stepped up to the challenge. 

Harrison Barnes hit a 10-foot jumper and followed it up with a driving layup to retake the lead with a 1:32 remaining on the clock. Willie Cauley-Stein hit a pair of free throws with just over a minute left to extend the lead.

De’Aaron Fox grabbed three rebounds in the final three minutes and hit a 12-foot floater in the lane to put the game away and Buddy Hield finished off the game with a pair of free throws.

The Kings turned up the intensity, played defense and stuck together down the stretch. 


The Next Step

Someone has to take control in late-game situations. The Kings have played hero by committee all season long, but in the future, there needs to be a single stabilizing figure.

Fox is that player. He’s made incredible strides this season for Sacramento and he’s come up big in more than a few games. But next season, the Kings need to become his team.

Against the Spurs, he ran the show. He played incredible defense, distributed the ball around the court, hit the glass hard and when Sacramento needed a dagger, he attacked the key and hit the floater.

Sunday’s win was a glimpse into what Fox is capable of doing. If he can be this player for a full 82 games next season, the Kings will win plenty of games.


Team Win

The final three minutes were just a sampling of a larger effort for the Sacramento Kings. Seven of the nine players who stepped on the floor scored in double-figures. 

Hield led the way with 26 points on 4-of-6 from long range. Cauley-Stein scored 17 points and grabbed six rebounds. Barnes and Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 15 each and Nemanja Bjelica and Yogi Ferrell each added 10.

In addition to the scoring, Corey Brewer and Kosta Koufos each made a tremendous impact on the outcome of the game. Brewer was a disruptive force and ran a plus-19 for the game. Koufos hit the glass, leading the team with 11 in 18 minutes.

To beat a team like the Spurs, you need balance. The Kings pulled together, overcame adversity and won as a team. 


The Schedule

When looking over the final 20 games of the season, the focus was on strength of schedule and the volume of winnable games. A closer eye should have been paid to the actual layout of the games.

The game against San Antonio was the six game in nine nights in six different cities at the tail end of a very long season. 

By comparison, the Spurs played just four games over the same stretch. The Rockets, who the Kings played on Saturday and will play again on Tuesday, also played just four games. 

[RELATED: Kings draw high praise from Spurs' Gregg Popovich, win in San Antonio]

When Houston drops by Golden 1 Center, they will be well rested and coming off a two-day break. It will be the third game in four nights in three different cities for Sacramento.

The Kings put themselves on the playoff radar with their play this season. Hopefully their schedule won’t look so daunting down the stretch next year.