Contemplating the what-ifs 

There is a possibility that the Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers will end up in a tie for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. If that occurs, it is likely that the Clippers will earn the berth by virtue of a better division record.

That scenario would give the Warriors all offseason to think about the games that got away, knowing that just one more win would have broken their 12-year playoff drought.

Just in case, here’s a clip-and-save column should they need it this summer. The five killer losses this season:

VS. INDIANA, NOV. 29 (108-106): The irony of the season could be that the two players who injected life into the Warriors — Stephen Jackson and Al Harrington — are actually the two players most responsible for them missing the playoffs.

The Warriors led the Pacers by four with 40 seconds remaining when Harrington and Jackson did the Warriors in. Most remember Jackson’s decisive 3-pointer with 1 second left that gave Indiana the win. After a Danny Granger miss, Baron Davis tipped out the rebound and it went right to Jackson, lingering outside the arc.

What most fans probably don’t remember is Harrington hit a ridiculous 28-footer with 34 seconds remaining and Mickael Pietrus hanging on him. That bucket, one of six 3-pointers for Harrington that night, pulled Indiana within one and set the stage for Jackson’s crusher.

AT WASHINGTON, MARCH 4 (107-106): A phantom foul followed by a terrible technical. With the Warriors up two, Gilbert Arenas began a drive to the bucket as time wound down. When Arenas’ runner in the lane bounced off the rim, some Warriors started celebrating the victory.

But then ... a late whistle, followed by a technical foul on coach Don Nelson for going onto the court. Officials went to replay to determine Arenas was fouled before the final horn, with one-tenth of a second remaining.

Arenas made all three free throws to win the game. Afterward, NBA executive vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson acknowledged that the technical foul on Nelson showed "poor judgment." Didn’t matter. It was the Warriors’ sixth straight loss and put them nine games under .500 at 26-35.

VS. MILWAUKEE, DEC. 2 (115-110): The Warriors blew a 10-point lead with 7½ minutes remaining and failed to score in the game’s final 2:53. What made the loss more devastating was that it came on the heels of the demoralizing defeat to the Pacers.

VS. CLEVELAND, JAN. 20: (106-104, OT): In the first game with Jackson and Harrington in the lineup after the trade, the Warriors blew an 18-point halftime lead and fell in overtime.

Point guard Baron Davis has to take some responsibility for this one. He didn’t play because he was serving a one-game suspension for taking a swipe at the Clippers’ Quinton Ross in the previous game.

AT SEATTLE, DEC. 10 (117-115): The Warriors dominated the first half with the Sonics and led 72-56 at halftime. Less than four minutes into the second half, the lead had dwindled to just three, and by the midway point of the fourth quarter, the Warriors were down eight.

Matt Steinmetz is the NBA insider for Warriors telecasts on Fox Sports Net.

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Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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