NBA Preview: Warriors at Pacers

Warriors at Pacers preview

The Indiana Pacers slipped just a bit in their quest for homecourt advantage in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, and now the schedule is working against them. The Pacers will make a brief stop at home on Thursday to host the defending champion Golden State Warriors before heading back out to visit East-leading Toronto on Friday.

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Indiana is two games behind red-hot Philadelphia and Cleveland in the battle for third and fourth places in the East after dropping a 107-104 decision at Denver on Tuesday to finish a West Coast trip 3-1. “I mean, we’ve been in those types of games many times and we’ve won, just tonight we kind of came up short,” Pacers All-Star guard Victor Oladipo told reporters after the loss. “Confidence is still high, swagger is still high, we just have to continue to keep getting better.” The Warriors are rebuilding their own swagger despite continuing to deal with injuries and picked up their third consecutive win with a 111-107 triumph at Oklahoma City on Tuesday. Golden State is locked into the No. 2 seed in the West but will have an impact on seeding in both conferences with games remaining against Indiana, New Orleans and Utah.

7 p.m. ET, NBCS Bay Area (Golden State), FS Indiana

ABOUT THE WARRIORS (57-21):¬†Golden State did not have Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green or Stephen Curry available during a 92-81 home loss to Indiana on March 27 but has since gotten all but Curry back on the floor. Durant is leading the way and posted a double-double in each of the last three contests, including 34 points in Tuesday’s triumph at Oklahoma City that came with Curry (knee), Andre Iguodala (knee), Omri Casspi (ankle), Shaun Livingston (personal) and Patrick McCaw (spine) sitting out. “It was a great win, short-handed and on the road against a good team fighting for playoff position,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters. “It’s a hell of a win, especially without all our guards. I loved how these guys played and competed.”

ABOUT THE PACERS (46-32):¬†Indiana is fighting for homecourt in the first round but won’t be intimidated if it falls short after winning seven of its last 10 on the road. “I think it is going to make us road-tough and battle-tested,” forward Thaddeus Young told the team’s website. “It’s definitely prepping us for the task at hand, which is going to the playoffs and trying to get some games. I think we have been doing a good job of handling it. Just going out there and just playing as a team.” Young is picking up his level of play while averaging 16 points over the last six games, raising his season average to 12, while posting three double-doubles in that span.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Thompson is averaging 22.7 points in three games since returning from a thumb injury.

2. Pacers PG Darren Collison is 10-of-15 from the floor over the last two games, including 6-of-7 from beyond the arc.

3. Golden State won in its last two trips to Indiana, including a 120-83 drubbing in last season’s visit.

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