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Warriors head into home stretch eyeing playoffs

Wednesday - 3/6/2013, 1:18am  ET

Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson calls a play against the Philadelphia 76ers in the second half of an NBA basketball game on Saturday, March 2, 2013, in Philadelphia. The 76ers won 104-97. (AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)

AP Sports Writer

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- There's no place like home for the Golden State Warriors to finish off what they started.

Despite the recent road struggles, the Warriors are in prime position to make the playoffs for only the second time in 19 years. Golden State (34-27) has the sixth-best record in the Western Conference entering Wednesday's matchup against the Sacramento Kings and plays 15 of its final 21 games at Oracle Arena, where an ever-loyal fan base has always made things tough on the visitors.

With Andrew Bogut battling back and ankle problems and the defense diminishing of late, the Warriors are still somewhat of an unknown heading into the home stretch. As coach Mark Jackson said: "Just because Dorothy clicks her heels and winds up at home doesn't mean that everything's going to be all right."

"It feels good that we put ourselves in position to get to this point," Jackson said after Tuesday's practice. "And now it's about sealing the deal, finishing up the season the right way. Our guys have earned that right, and it's great to be in this situation, but it's not just going to happen on its own."

Playoff promises have so often been unfilled by the Bay Area's only NBA team that the word itself is usually mocked around these parts by the time March rolls around.

Not this year.

Not with this team.

Earlier this season, Jackson had a board installed at Golden State's headquarters that shows the standings before players walk out to the practice court. One day over the holidays, the Warriors official in charge of updating the list was off, and players pitched a fit when the board shorted them a win.

For a franchise that has missed the playoffs all but once since 1994, it's hard not to pay attention to the latest standings: The Warriors are 5
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