A win over one of the Western Conference’s worst teams will end the Golden State Warriors’ 13-year playoff drought.
The Warriors (41-40) will clinch their first postseason berth since 1993-94 if they can beat the lowly Portland Trail Blazers (32-49) on Wednesday night at the Rose Garden in the regular-season finale for both teams.
“Win or go home. What better way?” Golden State’s Baron Davis said. “Who would have thought we would be in this position at the end of the year? The mission is not over. We win (Wednesday), that’s when the mission starts.”
Should the Warriors lose, though, they can still reach the playoffs if the Los Angeles Clippers fall at home to New Orleans. Additionally, if the Warriors win and the Los Angeles Lakers lose at Sacramento, Golden State will earn the seventh seed.
“I think it’s going to be one of the toughest games we’ll have all year,” Warriors coach Don Nelson said. “It’s just a feeling that I have.”
As an eighth seed, the Warriors would face Dallas. They would get Phoenix in the first round if seeded seventh.
Seven Warriors reached double figures, led by Mickael Pietrus’ 22, and Matt Barnes added 19 and 12 rebounds. Golden State is 4-17 in the second game of playing on back-to-back nights this season, but 3-2 since March 1.
“We can’t have a letdown,” said Jason Richardson, who’s spent his entire six-year career with Golden State. “It’s a very special opportunity for us. If we just take care of business, we’ll be in a playoff spot.”
Golden State and Portland have split two games this season, but a 106-87 road loss on March 11 ended the Warriors’ seven-game winning streak in the series dating back to January 2005.
Brandon Roy had 26 points and Zach Randolph added 25 points and 13 rebounds in that contest, but neither is expected to play Wednesday. Roy, the Rookie of the Year favorite, has missed the past two games because of sore knees and Randolph has been out since undergoing hand surgery late last month.
Also, rookie LaMarcus Aldridge has missed the last eight games because of an irregular heartbeat.
Portland will attempt to avoid finishing with at least 50 losses for a third straight season and is coming off its most lopsided defeat of the season, a 130-93 rout by Utah on Monday.
Reserve forward Travis Outlaw scored 26 points, making up a 4-for-12 night from the field by making 18 of 20 free throws.
“I don’t know what was up with that,” Outlaw said. “I was just trying to go to the goal hard.”