Warriors cautiously eye the playoffs

OAKLAND — With only nine games left in the regular season, the Golden State Warriors are eyeing their first appearance in the playoffs since 2007 with cautious optimism.

Following a tough loss Thursday night against the Sacramento Kings, Stephen Curry told SFBay after Friday’s practice they don’t have that one player they can lean on to score all the points.

Warriors Guard Stephen Curry

“We talk about all season that we don’t have that superstar that you can just drop the ball to in any situation … We don’t have that Kobe, that LeBron that can draw a triple team and make it easy for everybody.”

With that understanding, Curry said the Warriors have to get wins by committee. He explained:

“You have to make the right plays and I think that we have so many unselfish guys, I think we can be successful when the game slows down in the fourth quarter in playoff-type games.”

Golden State’s focus the last two days has been on executing the offense and cutting hard. Curry said that as long as they execute that at a high level, they can offset not having a Kobe or LeBron.

Head coach Mark Jackson echoed his point guard’s sentiments, telling SFBay:

Warriors Head Coach Mark Jackson

“I don’t think it took the Sacramento game to show us that we’ve done it by committee. We’ve done it by everyone fulfilling their role every single night whether it be defensively, rebounding, scoring, whether it be coming off the bench and having an impact, so we’re not good enough to be missing any part of the occasion.”

However, Jackson also placed a higher premium on Curry, who is the NBA’s third leading scorer since  the All-Star break, behind Kobe Bryant and James Harden. If the Warriors have someone to rely on, it would be Curry. Jackson said:

“There’s times there are other guys who make the plays but in an ideal world you know who’s the alpha male.”

Looking ahead Saturday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers, Curry said the work starts with containing their starting five, above all, standout rookie Damian Lillard.

Curry recalled their last matchup, where Lillard lit up Golden State for 37 points in a 103-97 Warriors win:

“We’ve got to do a better job on him, I think he caught fire second half last time they rolled through … he’s having a great year this year, (we can’t) allow him to put on the show that he put on last time.”

After Portland, the Warriors will have eight more games to secure their ticket to the playoffs. As the sixth seed, they have the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers at their heels.

Klay Thompson had the worst shooting performance of his career against Sacramento, 1-of-13 (.077) but isn’t dwelling on it.

Warriors guard Klay Thompson

“No question this is an extremely exciting time for us because it’s something new to us, something relatively new to the Warriors organization. We haven’t been back there since 2007, I think so this is a big step for our organization, especially for all of us who haven’t been in the playoffs before.”