NBA Power Rankings: Bucks stay on top, Knicks vault up to third


The Bucks hold on to the top spot in this week’s NBC Sports NBA Power Rankings, but the news is just below them where the Nuggets have climbed up to second and the Knicks have vaulted up to third.

Bucks small icon 1. Bucks (47-18, Last week No. 1). Milwaukee’s 16-game win-streak was snapped when its top-three defense let Philadelphia put up 48 in the fourth quarter. The Bucks bounced back from that bad 12 minutes with a couple of wins since, and with Boston slipping Milwaukee has a 2.5-game cushion for the top seed in the East. That matters because it puts them on the opposite side of the bracket from the Celtics and 76ers, who would have to go through each other before facing Giannis Antetokounmpo and company. The Bucks are happy to let them beat each other up. Three game road trip starts Saturday in Golden State in a nationally televised showdown against Stephen Curry and friends.

Nuggets small icon 2. Nuggets (46-19, LW 3). The Nuggets have won four straight and 8-of-9. What should give Nuggets fans the most hope heading into the playoffs is they are a league-best 30-4 at home. The big playoff concern about this team is on the defensive end, but over their last 15 games Denver’s 112 defensive rating is eighth best in the NBA — if they are playing top-10 defense come the postseason their chances of getting to the Finals jump dramatically. Starting Friday in San Antonio, Denver has 6-of-7 on the road, but most of this week is a relatively soft schedule.

Knicks small icon 3. Knicks (39-28, LW 6). In a reminder of how much Jalen Brunson means to this team, the Knicks’ nine-game winning streak was snapped by a Wembanyama-chasing Hornets team because he was out. While there is still time for things to go sideways in a way Knicks fans are all too familiar with, this team seems destined for a 4/5 matchup with the Cavaliers and the goal the rest of the way should be getting home court for that series. The other sign of how much Brunson meant to the team is New York having the fifth-best offense in the league this season, although part of that is Julius Randle going off and winning games with shots like this.

Celtics small icon 4. Celtics (45-21, LW 2). The Celtics have lost three in a row and 4-of-5, and the question is whether this is a structural issue or they are just a little bored with the regular season. I think it’s the latter, but this little slump has them 2.5 games back of the Bucks and looking at the No. 2 seed, which is a much rougher path through the playoffs. As things stand today they would get a beatable but physical and challenging Miami team in the first round, win that and it’s likely Philadelphia in the second round, with Milwaukee waiting at the end of the road. That is a gauntlet. Starting Saturday the Celtics head out on a six-game road trip.

Sixers small icon 5. 76ers (43-22, LW 4). Can the 76ers make it to the second seed? Philly has Gond 5-3 since the All-Star break and with the Celtics scuffling a little, find themselves just one game back of Boston, which would mean hosting a second-round series. If the Sixers are going to make it to the conference finals or beyond this season, they will need the James Harden that showed up in the fourth quarter against Milwaukee.

Cavaliers small icon 6. Cavaliers (41-26, LW 7). The Cavaliers have the best defense in the league for the season (109.5 defensive rating) but that has slipped a little of late, up to 112.1 over the last 10 games (that’s still ninth best in the league for that stretch). Cleveland appears headed for a showdown with New York in the first round of the playoffs and what the Cavs have going for them is the best player in that series — Donovan Mitchell had a 40 burger against the Celtics on Monday, he can carve up the Knicks defense and key a win in that series. Two big games against a desperate Miami team this Wednesday and Friday.

Kings small icon 7. Kings (38-26, LW 8). Back during Summer League in Las Vegas, some rowdy (perhaps intoxicated) Kings fans were chanting “40 wins” and talking playoffs, which led to chuckles in the NBA world. Nobody is laughing now — the Kings are about to blow by that optimistic outlook, just like they did the Vegas over/under on wins. The Kings moved up to the No. 2 seed in the West as they continue to play well (winning 6-of-7) while the Grizzlies deal with multiple issues and fall back. Things are going so well their Thursday night game against the red-hot Knicks was moved into the late game on TNT slot — the nation will get another look at the Kings.

Suns small icon 8. Suns (36-29, LW 9). Phoenix is 3-0 since Kevin Durant entered the lineup with a +13.5 net rating in those games — they have looked like contenders, even if it is one with some flaws. They have executed well when they have needed to, such as against the Mavericks, a game where Devin Booker and Durant combined for 73 points. The Suns sit as the No. 4 seed, three games back in the loss column from the Kings and Grizzlies. While Sacramento is not coming back to the pack, there is a chance the Suns can catch the stumbling Grizzlies for the No. 3 seed. The Suns play those Kings Saturday, then have a brutal back-to-back against the Warriors and Bucks Monday and Tuesday.

Grizzlies small icon 9. Grizzlies (38-26, LW 5). Ja Morant remains “away from the team” following him flashing a gun on social media and there is no return date set. There are bigger issues at play and Morant finding the right path for himself matters most, but they miss him dearly on the court as they slide down the West standings. Losing Brandon Clarke for the rest of the season and the playoffs to a torn Achilles is another big blow, he is a key part of their rotation. He likely is out until some point in the second half of next season (and missing all of it is not out of the question).

Mavericks small icon 10. Mavericks (34-32, LW 10). Dallas is 3-3 since the All-Star break, with a top-five offense and a bottom-10 defense that makes them dangerous but inconsistent. Despite Luka Dončić and Kyrie Irving having four games already where both score 30+, they are 3-5 playing together. The Mavs are tied with the Warriors as the five and six seeds in the West and it’s hard to see them moving up, the Suns (2.5 games ahead) will be tough to catch, and while Memphis is falling back making up five games with 16 to go is asking a lot. Dallas heads out on the road for 11 of their next 14 games.

Warriors small icon 11. Warriors (34-32, LW 12). Signs the Warriors are turning things around: They have the best defense in the NBA over the last seven games. They also got Stephen Curry back in the rotation, although that is an adjustment. “I think Steph is a really unique player to play with because most dominant players are on the ball constantly, and Steph is off the ball half the time,” Steve Kerr said. “And so you have to be ready not just to, you know, catch and shoot when he penetrates and kicks it to you but you got to recognize what he’s doing. Go set a screen for him, slip, be ready to take advantage of him with or without the ball.”

Heat small icon 12. Heat (35-31, LW 11). Erik Spoelstra has gone to staggering some of the minutes of Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler, needing to keep one of them on the floor to keep the team from cratering for stretches during a game. Still, there are rotation questions to answer: Kyle Lowry is nearing a return, should he start or should the steady Gabe Vincent keep the job? Max Strus was knocking down 3s and playing well as a starter with Kevin Love out, does he keep the job? Behind back-to-back wins against the Hawks last week, Miami has positioned itself well for the No. 7 seed, and now they can target trying to catch the Nets for a top-six finish, but to make up 2.5 games will take a hot hand and a little help. After a couple of games against the Cavaliers, the schedule softens up.

Nets small icon 13. Nets (37-28, LW 14). On a team with Devin Booker (and Deandre Ayton demanding touches), Mikal Bridges was not showcased offensively in Phoenix. He is getting his chance in Brooklyn and has grabbed it — he is averaging more than 30 points a game over his last four, and the Nets have won three of those (including a 28-point comeback against the Celtics). Brooklyn is a playoff team, and they have a 2.5-game lead over Miami with 17 to play (and the Nets have the tiebreaker), if the Nets can play around .500 ball the rest of the way they have a good chance of staying in the top six and avoiding the playoffs.

14. Timberwolves (34-33, LW 17). Nothing is locked in, but the sweep of the Los Angeles teams last weekend has helped the Timberwolves’ play-in positioning — if you’re stuck in the play-in you want to be the 7/8 seeds so you only need one win to advance. As of now, Minnesota is seven seed and looks likely to hold on to a 7/8 seed. Minnesota is 4-5 since the arrival of Mike Conley and will try to add to that with games against the Hawks and Nets (two teams fighting for playoff positioning themselves) this week.

Hawks small icon 15. Hawks (32-33, LW 16). Atlanta is 1-3 in the Quin Snyder era, although that is unfair as he was never going to have a chance to make meaningful changes to the system 60+ games into the season. They are shooting a few more 3-pointers a game, and Dejounte Murray went off for 41 against the Trail Blazers, but nothing has changed. It was interesting to see owner Tony Ressler go on a media tour to push back on the idea of meddling ownership (with his son working in the team’s front office) leading to frustration and the mid-season changes in the front office and coaching staff. Time will tell, but Snyder has the contract that gives him leverage.

Clippers small icon16. Clippers (34-33, LW 13). The Clippers snapped their five-game losing streak since the arrival of Russell Westbrook and him starting at point guard — but it took big games and a late push from Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to beat the shorthanded and stunned Grizzlies team. As of this writing, the Clippers sit as the No. 8 seed, just half a game (one in the loss column) back of Golden State and Dallas as the No. 5/6 seeds. The Clippers can avoid the play-in if they find an identity and start building some chemistry, but the stylistic change of Westbrook at the point has set that process back (even with him playing efficiently, he just plays a very different game than they had been).

Raptors small icon 17. Raptors (32-34, LW 15). Toronto is 4-3 since the All-Star break with their defense covering up an offense that has struggled with Fred VanVleet missing time then struggling with his shot upon his return. The Raptors appear locked into a play-in spot (they have a three-game cushion over the 11-seed Bulls) but the real question is can they pass the Hawks and climb up to the No. 8 seed and make their path through the play-in much easier? The schedule isn’t making things easier with both Los Angeles teams followed by Denver.

Lakers small icon 18. Lakers 32-34, LW 20). The Lakers have gone 3-2 since LeBron James went out with a foot injury — thanks in large part to Anthony Davis getting back to his All-NBA form from earlier in the season — and that combined with the slides of New Orleans and Utah has the Lakers up to ninth in the West and in the play-in. Maybe the best sign for Lakers fans from this run: They are doing it with defense. The Lakers have the fourth-best defense in the NBA over those five games (and a bottom-10 offense). A critical game for the Lakers next Tuesday against the Pelicans.

Blazers small icon 19. Trail Blazers (31-34, LW 21). Damian Lillard has carried Portland’s offense, scoring 30+ points in nine of his last 10 games (and that includes the insane 71-point night against the Rockets), but he is going to have to keep that up and get more help if the Trail Blazers are going to make the postseason. The next couple of weeks will be critical for Portland as they face a brutal schedule that could sink their playoff hopes: Boston, Philadelphia, New Orleans, New York, Boston, L.A.

Thunder small icon 20. Thunder (31-34, LW 23). Steven Adams is expected to return soon from injury. Jalen Williams may be playing himself onto the All-Rookie First team with his play of late — he’s averaging 21.3 points a game on 58.8% shooting since the All-Star break. OKC is in the bunch between 9 and 11 in the West with the Lakers, Pelicans and Trail Blazers battling for the final couple of play-in spots. The Thunder will have to earn this on the road, with 8-of-10 away from home (the Thunder are 11-19 away from home so far this season). The key game is this Sunday at New Orleans.

Wizards small icon 21. Wizards (31-34, LW 24). Washington has the roster of a dangerous play-in team. Bradley Beal could go off at any time, like he did last week dropping 37 on the Hawks. Kyle Kuzma is playing for his next contract and is capable of 30+ any given night. Kristaps Porzingis is another guy on the roster who can get hot and win the Wizards one game. And even with all of them, it was Daniel Gafford who got free for the game-winner against the Pistons, a put-back at the buzzer.

Jazz small icon 22. Jazz (31-35, LW 18). As expected after their moves selling off veterans at the trade deadline, the Jazz are struggling — they have lost four straight and fallen out of the play-in picture in the West. With the second toughest remaining schedule in the NBA, it’s tough to picture the Jazz turning it around. This season was supposed to be, in part, about developing players for the future in Utah and not only has Walker Kessler lived up to that, but of late Kris Dunn has impressed with solid minutes off the bench. The Jazz are 0-3 to start their six-game road trip.

Pelicans small icon 23. Pelicans (31-34, LW 19). Zion Williamson will be out at least a couple more weeks, the team announced, and that may be optimistic. If the Pelicans look like they are out of the play-in mix in two weeks, they might sit him for the remainder of the season. Huge games this week against other teams in the play-in mix: at home against the Thunder, Trail Blazers and Lakers. New Orleans needs a couple of wins in that trio of games.

Bulls small icon 24. Bulls (29-36, LW 22). Can the Bulls still climb up to the No. 10 seed and get into the play-in? They will need a little help from the Raptors or Wizards — Chicago sits two games back of Washington with 17 to play. It doesn’t help that Chicago has the fourth toughest schedule in the East the rest of the way. Zach LaVine has been putting up numbers of late, but the defense that was impressive earlier in the league has slipped and is bottom 10 in the league over the last five games.

Magic small icon 25. Magic 27-39, LW 25). Orlando isn’t headed to the playoffs but this season was always supposed to be about development and Paolo Banchero certainly has lived up to that — he will be the Rookie of the Year — but there have been other bright spots as well with second-year player Franz Wagner taking another step forward, and Wendell Carter Jr. looks like a rotation big. Losing Jonathan Isaac for the season again after just 11 games is a blow, but hopefully, he can bounce back from adductor surgery and be ready to roll next season.

Pacers small icon 26. Pacers (29-37, LW 26). There are so many signs of how much Tyrese Haliburton means to this team beyond the 40 points and 16 assists he put up against the 76ers on Monday. The best example may be Indiana’s season fell apart starting mid-January when Haliburton missed 10 games and the team went 1-9 without him. Haliburton has played at an All-NBA level this season, however the league is so deep with elite guards that picking the top six for All-NBA honors is going to mean some very good players are going to get left off.

Hornets small icon 27. Hornets (21-46, LW 27). Tuesday’s win snapping the Knicks’ nine-game winning streak was one of the team’s best wins, especially without LaMelo Ball (out for the season). Kelly Oubre Jr. is happy to take more shots and has picked up some of that scoring slack and is averaging more than 24 points a game since Ball went down. They have more winnable games this week against the Pistons and Jazz.

Rockets small icon 28. Rockets (15-50, LW 29). The Rockets are firmly entrenched in the bottom three teams in the league — they will have a 14% chance at landing Victor Wembanyama — so a couple of wins against the Spurs this week is not going to hurt their cause. For all the focus on Jalen Green and his impressive athleticism, Alpren Şengün looks like the guy who could be a key part of this team’s rotation in the future. Starting Saturday against the Bulls the Rockets have a six-game homestand.

Spurs small icon 29. Spurs (16-49, LW 30). San Antonio won two games in the past week (Pacers and Jazz) and that was enough to get them out of the cellar of these NBA Power rankings, but then they go and lose both games of a home-and-home with Houston, so how much can we really move them up? On the bright side for Spurs fans, outside of scouring YouTube for Wembanyama highlights they can watch Devin Vassell, who returned to action this week.

Pistons small icon 30. Pistons (15-51, LW 28). Losers of nine in a row and 12-of-13, the Pistons have slid into the bottom of these NBA Power Rankings. Adding to their woes, Detroit has lost Hamidou Diallo for the rest of the season with a Grade 2 right ankle sprain. This team could make a leap next season with whoever they draft and the return of Cade Cunningham (the guy who brings this entire offense together), but the next few weeks will not be pretty.

Report: Wizards, Kristaps Porzingis talking contract extension

Washington Wizards v Philadelphia 76ers
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Despite the fact they are 34-42 and about to miss even the play-in, the Washington Wizards like their core of Bradley Beal, Kristaps Porzingis and Kyle Kuzma. The Wizards have a solid +4.6 net rating when all three of them are on the court together (via Cleaning the Glass), the problem is that alone has not translated to winning (they are 4-10 in games with all three but not Delon Wright at the point; however, that trio with Wright is 12-9, notes by Josh Robbins at The Athletic).

Washington wants to lock up that core. Beal got his max contract (complete with a no-trade clause), and the Wizards have made moves to re-sign free agent to be Kyle Kuzma this offseason (there reportedly is mutual interest). That leaves Kristaps Porzingis, who has a $36 million player option for next season, and the sides are talking extension, reports Shams Charania at The Athletic.

Porziņģis and the Wizards have been seriously discussing a new deal in which he would opt out of his $36 million player option for the 2023-24 season and sign a new long-term deal, according to sources. The Wizards can offer Porziņģis a maximum of four years and $180 million if he opts out for next year and extends his deal. The deadline to reach such an agreement is in late June.

The Wizards are not going to max out Porzingis. That makes the questions what salary number and how many years do they want to give a player with his injury history? Porzingis played 65 games out of 76 so far this season (they may shut him down with no realistic chance at the play-in), but is it realistic to expect that in future years? He also put up impressive stats this season: 23.2 points a game with a 62.7 true shooting percentage, 8.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.5 blocks a night.

This is likely a case where Porzingis agrees to take less than his opt-in figure per year for the security of multiple years and more guaranteed money overall. The Wizards will want a number that keeps him as a valuable trade piece if things don’t go as planned (with Beal, specifically) and they have to pivot to a rebuild. Which if they have another season like this last one is a growing possibility.

Kevin Durant expected to make return to Suns Wednesday night


In the three games he played for the Suns, Kevin Durant was his vintage self: 26.7 points and 7.3 assists a game on an insanely efficient 80.8 true shooting percentage. Not so coincidentally, the Suns won all three games.

The Suns have gone 4-6 with Durant sidelined after he sprained an ankle in warmups before his fourth game (although that was good enough to hold off the Clippers and Warriors and keep the No. 4 seed and home court in the first round). Now Durant is expected back on Wednesday night against the Timberwolves — he is officially questionable, but multiple reports out of Phoenix say he will play if there is no setback in warmups.

A setback in warmups is how we got here in the first place.

Phoenix would have seven games left to hold on to that No.4 seed (they are five games back of the Kings at No.3, that’s not happening). More importantly, they would have seven games to build chemistry with Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton, for Monty Williams to look at lineups and tinker with rotations — they have seven games to figure it out before things get very serious.

Seven games could be enough in a wide-open West where plenty of teams are trying to figure things out. That road starts Wednesday night against a Timberwolves team playing its best ball of the season.

Three things to Know: Warriors’ comeback puts them back in top six


Three Things To Know is NBC’s five-days-a-week wrap-up of the night before in the NBA. Check out every weekday morning to catch up on what you missed the night before plus the rumors, drama, and dunks that make the NBA must-watch.

1) Warriors’ comeback puts them back in top six, Heat loss to Raptors does opposite

There were three games last night that impacted the playoff chase.

• Golden State was down 17 at the half to New Orleans and had looked sloppy again, with turnovers and missed opportunities. Then, giving life to the “they can flip the switch” crowd, Draymond Green lit a fire under the Warriors by getting chippy with Brandon Ingram and Herb Jones. Plus Stephen Curry — who finished with 39 points, eight rebounds and eight assists — started doing things that left Steve Kerr shaking his head (also, notice Klay Thompson‘s off-ball movement here, trademark Warriors stuff).

The Warriors picked up the 120-109 win and moved back into the No.6 seed in the West for a day by half-a-game over the Timberwolves (the two teams are tied in the loss column, and Minnesota has the tiebreaker). New Orleans, at 38-38, sits as the No. 8 seed but just half a game up on the Lakers (these teams are tied in the loss column). Every win will matter down the stretch for seeding in the bottom half of the West.

• Miami entered the day tied with Brooklyn for the 6/7 seed in the East but with a couple of problems. First, the Nets had the tiebreaker after beating the Heat last weekend. Second, Brooklyn has the easiest remaining schedule in the NBA the rest of the way. The Heat need some big wins down the stretch to overtake the Nets.

This is why a 106-92 loss to Toronto is a blow to the Heat’s chances to avoid the play-in. Jimmy Butler was out with neck soreness, and while Tyler Herro scored 33 on 13-of-21 shooting, the rest of the Heat shot 32.2% for the game and they took the loss. Now they head to New York for a tough road back-to-back.

With the win, Toronto (38-38) is tied with Atlanta for the 8/9 seed in the East. Scottie Barnes had 22 points and a career-best 12 assists in the win.

• Charlotte continues to wreak havoc on the West playoff chase — they beat Dallas twice last weekend, then on Tuesday helped out Dallas by knocking off the Thunder 137-134. The Thunder and Mavericks are now tied for the final play-in spot in the West.

2) Wade, Popovich, Nowitzki headline legendary 2023 Hall of Fame class

Saturday it will become official, but none of this is a surprise.

The 2023 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame class is stacked: Dwyane Wade, Dirk Nowitzki, Gregg Popovich, Pau Gasol, Tony Parker and Becky Hammon. That is a very deep class out of the NBA/WNBA division, and there is no questioning the credentials of anyone in that class.

Wade is arguably the greatest shooting guard in NBA history (if you count Jordan as a small forward), winning three rings as a member of the Miami Heat, plus making eight All-NBA teams. Nowitzki is the guy with his statue outside the arena in Dallas, is an NBA champion and Finals MVP, plus he won the regular season MVP in 2007. Popovich, the legendary coach of the five-time champion San Antonio Spurs, also coached Team USA to the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics. Parker was the point guard for much of that Spurs run, is a four-time NBA champion and was Finals MVP in 2007. Gasol is a two-time NBA champion, four-time All-NBA and led Spain to the FIBA World Championship in 2006.

3) Lillard, Simmons officially shut down for season (Beal probably is, too)

Everyone knew it was already happening, but a couple of things became official on Tuesday.

The Trail Blazers have shut down Damian Lillard for the season. The Blazers are five games out of the final play-in spot, and are tied for the fifth-worst record in the league. We know where their focus should be.

No. We are not doing the Lillard trade speculation here. Until he asks for a trade — and he has never done so, in fact saying the opposite multiple times in this past year — it will not happen.

Also, Nets’ coach Jacque Vaughn made the worst kept secret in the NBA official, saying the Nets are shutting Ben Simmons down for the season, officially for his back impingement. He reportedly does not need surgery and will be ready to go by training camp next fall.

Watch Curry score 39, spark Warriors rally from 20 down to beat Pelicans


SAN FRANCISCO — Draymond Green yelled at the other bench, his own team and even his coach, and this time those intense emotions absolutely made the difference.

Steve Kerr loved it.

“We need his fire,” Golden State’s coach said.

“It was perfect, right, perfectly executed,” Green said with a grin.

Stephen Curry had 39 points with eight 3-pointers, eight rebounds and eight assists, Jordan Poole added 21 points with consecutive layups that gave Golden State the lead early in the fourth quarter, and the Warriors rallied past the New Orleans Pelicans 120-109 on Tuesday night in a testy, playoff-like matchup in late March.

Klay Thompson scored 17 and hit five 3s to set a new single-season career high of 278, which leads the NBA.

The Warriors moved up a spot into sixth place in the crowded Western Conference standings, a half-game up on Minnesota and 1 1/2 games ahead of New Orleans. Golden State lost 99-96 at home to the Timberwolves on Sunday, so coming back from 20 down to win this one was key as the defending champions try to avoid the play-in round. The top six teams are guaranteed playoff berths.

“We lost a heartbreaker the other night. We knew we had to bounce back,” Kerr said.

Brandon Ingram had 26 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, Trey Murphy III scored 21 points and CJ McCollum added 15 for the Pelicans, who came in riding a five-game winning streak.

Green chirped and pushed the emotions and physicality all game, then threw an alley-oop to Jonathan Kuminga for a dunk with 7:09 left for one of his 13 assists and a 101-98 advantage.

“Draymond willed us to victory tonight,” Kerr said. “His frustration early with the way we were playing. Mad at the world. Yelling at everybody, their bench, our bench, me, and frankly we all deserved it.”

Green was whistled for a double technical for tussling with Ingram late in the second quarter – and Green’s foul was upgraded to a Flagrant 1. He already served a one-game suspension March 17 at Atlanta for his 16th technical.

Green committed an offensive foul moments later and players for both sides tangled, Green’s feet getting caught up with Herbert Jones’ head. A replay showed no additional infractions but Kerr briefly took Green out with tensions running high because of his “extreme energy” in that moment.

“We looked dead those first 18 minutes of the game,” Kerr said. “We had to find some energy somewhere. I knew it wasn’t just going to come.”

Three straight 3-pointers by Curry late in the third got Golden State within 89-83. Poole then stole the ball from Ingram and dunked on the other end as the Warriors trailed 89-85 going into the final 12 minutes.

Golden State started the third on an 8-0 burst fueled by Donte DiVincezo. He made a putback dunk over Ingram early in the second half then a three-point play before Thompson’s 3 at 10:44 made it 63-54.

McCollum’s 3 with 1:40 left before halftime put the Pelicans up 60-43, then Ingram made it a 20-point game with a 3 New Orleans’ next time down.

The Pelicans, coached by former Warriors assistant Willie Green and longtime Golden State assistant Jarron Collins on his staff, had won five straight after a 124-90 romp at Portland on Monday night.

The Warriors’ victory prevented the Sacramento Kings, coached by former top assistant Mike Brown, their first playoff berth since 2006 that would end the worst drought in NBA history at 16 years.