Feb 22, 2023 - Sports

Golden State Warriors face uphill battle to defend title

curry and green high fiving on the court

Stephen Curry (No. 30) and Draymond Green (No. 23) of the Golden State Warriors celebrate in a game against the Brooklyn Nets at Chase Center on Jan. 22. Photo: Kavin Mistry/Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors still have a chance to defend their title in the postseason, but it will be an uphill battle.

State of play: The All-Star break is almost over and the Dubs are sitting in ninth place with 29 wins and 29 losses in the Western Conference.

  • If the season were to end today, the Warriors would find themselves competing in the play-in, a tournament to determine which teams will make up the seventh and eighth seeds in the playoffs.
  • Teams ranked first through sixth are guaranteed to compete in the playoffs, while the seventh through 10th seeds are forced to battle it out in the play-in tournament.

By the numbers: On the plus side, the Dubs are just one game behind the Dallas Mavericks, currently in sixth place.

  • Yes, but: The Warriors are just one game ahead of the Utah Jazz at 11th place.

Why it matters: The Warriors have a very slim margin of error for these final 24 regular-season games.

  • If the Warriors miss the postseason, the team would join a sad, sad club of just two other defending champions in NBA history that have failed to make the playoffs the following year: the 1969-70 Boston Celtics and the 1998-99 Chicago Bulls, according to The Sporting News.

What we're watching: Stephen Curry is recovering from a lower-leg injury and Gary Payton II suffered a core muscle injury, so a big question is when they will be back in the game.

  • The Warriors have just one available roster spot and the team will soon need to make a decision over whether to offer contracts to guard Ty Jerome and forward Anthony Lamb.

What's next: The Warriors play their next game Thursday against the Los Angeles Lakers in LA.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios San Francisco.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More San Francisco stories

No stories could be found

San Franciscopostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios San Francisco.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more