Of the four games remaining on the Warriors' regular-season schedule, certain contests can reasonably be expected to be more difficult than others. While it would be extremely unwise for Golden State to overlook its final two games against the New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies, the back-to-back against the Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns projects to be a more daunting task.
That back-to-back set begins Monday night at Chase Center against the Jazz, and both contests represent fairly likely playoff previews. Should the Warriors make it through the play-in tournament, they'd be guaranteed to be either the No. 7 or No. 8 seed in the West, and thus would be guaranteed to face either Utah or Phoenix in a best-of-seven playoff series.
The Jazz have been at the front of the pack all season long, and it's easy to see why. They have an abundance of talent, and depth that arguably is unmatched. Luckily for Golden State, Utah will be missing some key pieces on Monday night.
Jazz reporter Sarah Todd of the Deseret News reported Sunday that guards Mike Conley Jr. and Donovan Mitchell will not play against the Warriors.
That shouldn't necessarily come as a surprise. Mitchell has missed the last 12 games while recovering from a right ankle sprain, while Conley Jr. has sat out the last seven contests due to a hamstring injury.
The Jazz obviously are a stronger team with both of those dynamic guards in tow, but they clearly have found a way to manage. Utah enters Monday's contest riding a five-game winning streak.
Still, you'd have to think the Warriors' chances of winning are improved in their absence. The two sides split their first two meetings this season, with Golden State most recently defeating a full-strength Jazz squad 131-119 at Chase Center on March 14. As such, whichever side prevails on Monday night will win the season series between the two teams.
That certainly wouldn't be a bad confidence boost heading into a potential playoff series.