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OAKLAND – Though the Warriors could earn a playoff spot Monday night, it has been evident for months that they're looking well beyond merely reaching the postseason.
Veteran guard Shaun Livingston emphasized that point after the team's Monday morning shootaround prior to meeting the Lakers at Oracle Arena.
"We know we're going to be in the playoffs," Livingston said. "It's a given. I'd be lying to you if I said we wouldn't."
One more win by the Warriors or one more loss by Oklahoma City would ensure the Warriors, who own the best record in the NBA, are in the playoffs. They would be the first Western Conference team to earn a spot.
The Warriors, though, are more concerned with nailing down the top seed in the conference. The magic number is 11. Any combination of Warriors wins or Memphis losses reaching 11 would secure the No. 1 seed throughout the playoffs.
"It's huge. It’s absolutely huge in the West," Livingston said. "The West is as tough as it gets. Every team is tough. To have that homecourt advantage all the way through, that's big.
"I haven't been (at Oracle) for the playoffs. But I can only imagine, being here for an exhibition or regular-season game. I can only imagine what they're going to bring. It's a true homecourt advantage here."
The biggest challenge for the Warriors over the coming weeks, as stated by the coaching staff, is to stay in the moment, regardless of the opponent. To avoid all hints of complacency that might creep in after a playoff spot is locked up.
"We're competing to play better each game, to not fall into the trap of looking at the schedule, looking at a team, record-wise," Livingston said.
"What I'm telling you is hard to do," he added. "It's the right thing to say, but it's the hardest thing to do. I could sit up here and tell it's not hard, but it's very hard. You have to almost mentally psych yourself out to come out and be aggressive and play this way."
And to think there was a time, only two years ago, when merely making the playoffs was cause for elation among the Warriors and their fans.