Programming note: Jazz-Warriors coverage tips off tonight at 5:30 on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area with Warriors Pregame Live (Territory restrictions apply) Channel locations
OAKLAND – With six games remaining in the regular season, the mission for the Warriors has changed. They have only one eye on their opponents.
The other eye is on the Western Conference standings, and their minds absolutely must be on themselves.
In addition, there are the injuries to key players and the loss of two assistant coaches in the past two weeks.
The Warriors (47-29) may be well positioned in the playoffs race – holding the No. 6 seed – but there are clear challenges as they confront the season's final six games, the first of which is Sunday night against the Jazz (24-52) at Oracle Arena.
"We understand what's going on around us," point guard Stephen Curry said. "Obviously, we're ahead of the game and understand if we play the way we're supposed to, we don't need anybody else's help.
"You watch games and understand who's playing well, who won, who lost, that kind of deal. We have to take care of our business and that's the only thing you really should be focused on – but obviously be aware of what other teams are doing."
Utah hasn't done much this season and is destined for the lottery. The Jazz are particularly vulnerable on the road, where it has lost 30 of 38 games. The Warriors have won all three previous games this season, by an average of 10 points.
The stretch run, against mostly inferior teams, is more about the Warriors maintaining the proper focus, being mentally and physically ready for the postseason.
"Our mindset is to be playing the best basketball possible to close out the season, to win ballgames and then let the chips fall where they may," coach Mark Jackson said. "Whatever seed we are, we're going to be playing against a very good basketball team, whoever it is. We want to take care of our business first."
For the Warriors, that means fighting through injuries to the big men, past the thinned coaching staff and coping with potentially difficult repercussions from both.
Unfavorable circumstances, to be sure, but the Warriors have a way of summoning their best work when the odds seem against them.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Curry vs. Trey Burke: The Utah rookie has shown signs of being a solid point guard for many years to come. His defense should be overmatched by Curry's offensive wizardry.
Thompson vs. Gordon Hayward: Hayward is a natural scorer who, much like Thompson, relies largely on moving without the ball. But Thompson is a superior defender who is more than capable of containing Utah's most dangerous player.
For the Warriors, SF Andre Iguodala (right knee tendinitis) is probable. C Andrew Bogut (pelvis/groin contusion) and PF David Lee (strained right hamstring) are listed as questionable. C Festus Ezeli (right knee surgery rehab) is out indefinitely.
For the Jazz, no injuries are listed.
Warriors 6-4, Jazz 2-8.
After losing five of the seven games the previous two seasons, the Warriors have won the first three meetings this season and are seeking their first ever season sweep of the Jazz.