After the Warriors won their away game against the Thunder, they became the second team in the league and the first team in the Western Conference to guarantee a spot in the playoff.
Despite the absence of All-Star forward Kevin Durant due to ankle injury, the Golden State Warriors won 110-88 with captain Steph Curry scoring 33 points in the game on March 16. The Warriors are now in the playoffs for the seventh-straight season, their new franchise record, beating the old one set in 1952.
The first seed in the Eastern Conference, the Milwaukee Bucks, were the first team that clinched a playoff spot in the league. At their away win against the Los Angeles Lakers on March 2, the Bucks got their 48th victory with point guard Eric Bledsoe scoring 31 points.
Last season, the Bucks were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. They played against the Miami Heat for a whole seven game series. This season, the Bucks came back with the improvement of MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo and new coach Mike Budenholzer, who formerly led the Atlanta Hawks to the Eastern Conference Final. They hold the best record in the league so far and are expected to go further in the playoff this year.
As for the Warriors, they are working hard towards winning championships for the third-straight season. Despite shaky performances this season, they are still the top seed in the Western Conference with two former MVPs and three former All-Star players.
In the past two games, the Warriors played against the Rockets and the Thunder, who were among the biggest threats to the Warriors in the Western Conference. However, the Warriors won them both without Durant playing. Thus, the key for the Warriors in the remainder of the season is to stay healthy.
With one month remaining in the regular season, the playoff picture is not yet clear for the rest of the teams. In the Eastern Conference, the fifth-spot Boston Celtics are pushing to get themselves into the top four seeds in order to ensure home court advantage in the playoffs. As for the Pacers, although their All-Star player Victor Oladipo is out for the season due to knee injury, their resilience has helped them to keep the fourth spot in the East so far.
For the teams at the edge of the playoff in the Eastern Conference, the competition is tight. The Nets seemed to end their playoff drought with 36 wins in the seventh spots, while the Heat, the Magic and the Hornets are competing for the last spot the playoffs. The Heat was one win ahead of the Magic and the Hornets, and the Magic as well as the Hornets were desperate to end their playoff droughts.
In the Western Conference, the teams at the edge of the playoff seem to have lost momentum. The Kings were very close to their first playoff in the last decade, but they have now lost three games in a row. They are now six wins away from the eighth spot Los Angeles Clippers with only 13 games left in regular season.
The Timberwolves and the Lakers are having another disappointing season, as they are in the 10th and the 11th spot in the Western Conference, respectively. Despite the solid performances of Karl-Anthony Towns from the Timberwolves and LeBron James from the Lakers, both teams are more than eight wins away from the eighth spot and have struggled to look like a playoff team.