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Warriors make top six, Lakers head to play-in as West playoffs set

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A. Sherrod Blakely joins Brother from Another to explain why he thinks the Denver Nuggets will finish at the top of the Western Conference ahead of the Golden State Warriors.

The Warriors were a mess on the road all season, but pulled it together enough to secure a top-six seed in the West and avoid the play-in thanks to a blowout win over the Trail Blazers on the season’s final day. While a Lakers win over the Jazz has them hosting the first play-in game in the West on Tuesday.

There were 16 different possible outcomes in the West when the sun rose on Sunday morning, but here is how the final standing shook out:

1. Denver Nuggets
2. Memphis Grizzlies
3. Sacramento Kings
4. Phoenix Suns
5. Los Angeles Clippers
6. Golden State Warriors
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7. Los Angeles Lakers
8. Minnesota Timberwolves
9. New Orleans Pelicans
10. Oklahoma City Thunder

The Lakers will host the Timberwolves Tuesday night in the first game of the West play-in tournament, with the winner getting the No. 7 seed and facing the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round. The loser of that game will sit until Friday, then host the winner of Wednesday’s win-or-go-home game between the Thunder and Pelicans. The winner of that final play-in game on Friday does a quick turnaround and plays in Denver on Sunday.

Two West playoff series are set.

The Kings are in the playoffs for the first time since 2006 and they get their No Cal rivals the Golden State Warriors (which should make Draymond Green happy). Bet the over, these are elite offenses — with Stephen Curry and Domontas Sabonis leading the way — but neither team has played great defense this season. Whichever one plays better on that end will win the series. Also, we’ll see if the Warriors can win a game on the road (they were 11-30 away from Chase Center this year, and a couple of those wins were soft ones at the end of the year against tanking teams (such as the Trail Blazers on Sunday). The first game between these teams is Saturday (8:30 Eastern on ABC).

The Suns and the Clippers will face off in a star-studded first round with Kevin Durant against Kawhi Leonard. These two teams played Sunday, which the Clippers won 119-114 but the Suns sat Durant, Devin Booker, Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton. This is one of the most interesting matches of the first round, teams led by two Finals MVPs that entered the season with title hopes, didn’t play at that level for much of the year, and are now looking to find their groove. The Clippers will at least start the series without Paul George, which could tip the balance of power.

The Suns host the Clippers on Sunday, the same day the other two West playoff series get underway.