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Warriors beat Jazz to wind up with 10th seed in West

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Steve Kerr firmly believes his team still has a shot to make a splash this postseason — facing a familiar foe to start the uphill quest.

Klay Thompson scored 25 points with six 3-pointers, Andrew Wiggins added 19 points, and the Golden State Warriors beat the Utah Jazz 123-116 in the regular-season finale Sunday and wound up with the 10th spot in the Western Conference.

“We have a really good connection on this team, good chemistry, guys pulling for each other. So I've got a good feeling about what's ahead,” Kerr said. “I think we still have a chance to do something special. Now, obviously, it's NCAA Tournament, we've got to get out of the first weekend here, win the first two and get to the first round, but we have a shot, so we're excited about that.”

With the Lakers winning at New Orleans and the Kings beating Portland at home, Golden State will head to Sacramento on Tuesday as the No. 10 seed to face the ninth-seeded Kings in the Play-In Tournament. The Warriors won a thrilling first-round playoff series last year against their Northern California rival with Stephen Curry scoring 50 in the deciding Game 7.

“It’s going to be one of those games we’ve got to leave it all on the floor,” Wiggins said. “... It's win or go home, no second chances.”

The Warriors will get on a bus Monday and have a day to prepare for former top assistant coach Mike Brown's team.

“It'll be a great a great atmosphere, we were there last year,” Kerr said. “They'll have their crowd behind them.”

Golden State only could have moved up as high as eighth if it won and both the Kings and Lakers lost.

Kerr rested Draymond Green and Curry, whose 74 regular-season games and 2,421 total minutes are both the two-time MVP's most since 2016-17. The Warriors are 1-3 this season in games missing both Green and Curry.

“He could have played. If we had to play him, he would be playing,” Kerr said about Curry. “Given what we're facing, it made no sense to put him out there today.”

Golden State, coming off a home loss to New Orleans on Friday night for just its second defeat in 11 games, utilized its third starting combination in three games.

Chris Paul started for Curry and finished with six points, six assists and four rebounds in 22-plus minutes.

Keyonte George scored 21 points to lead a Jazz team that went 31-51 — 10-31 on the road — and missed the playoffs for a second straight season. Utah won two of its final three games following a 13-game losing streak and stretch that featured 16 defeats in 17 games.

“We need to be rethinking everything,” second-year coach Will Hardy said.

Jonathan Kuminga had a career-high seven assists as the Warriors recorded their 36th game with 30 or more assists dishing out 35. They have won the last eight home contests against Utah and swept the four-game season series from the Jazz.

Golden State guard Gary Payton II sat out his third straight game with tightness in his left calf and his status for the coming week was unclear.

No matter the rotation, Green put it plainly explaining the next task: “We just got to go win.”

“When this team's back is against the wall," he said, "I like how this group shows up.”

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AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba