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Warriors lose one other dwelling recreation, give away their clearest shot on the eighth seed

SAN FRANCISCO — The Golden State Warriors have a new candidate for the deadliest quarter of their shaky season. They had a clear path to the eighth seed and the top side of the Play-In bracket open up Friday night but fumbled it away during a 45-22 second quarter that saw the New Orleans Pelicans turn a 9-point deficit into a 14-point halftime lead.

Some of it was New Orleans’ shot-making. CJ McCollum is scorching currently. After hitting nine 3s in Sacramento a night earlier, McCollum made eight more against the Warriors. Five of those came during that second quarter. McCollum’s final 3, a pump-fake wing dagger that fooled Steph Curry in the final minute, basically sealed the Pelicans win: 114-109.

The Warriors committed nine second-quarter turnovers, leading to 15 Pelicans points, mostly in transition. Steve Kerr said he liked the Warriors’ half-court effort, but the turnovers — again — compromised their defense.

“Killed us,” Kerr said.

Curry committed four of those nine second-quarter turnovers. He had seven giveaways in the game, appearing fatigued after logging 68 minutes the last two nights.

“Not all turnovers are created equal,” Curry said. “They were the ones that fueled transition, live-ball ones. They took full advantage of pretty much every single one and that little stretch in the second quarter just gave them life. … Fresh legs or not, they’re just bad decisions.”

The Sacramento Kings let a 16-point lead slip at home, losing 108-107 to the Phoenix Suns. The Kings are 1-5 in their last six games, cracking the door open for the Warriors to move into the eighth spot Friday night. But the loss pushed them back to 10th.

“It stings a lot,” Klay Thompson said of the seeding ramifications.

“I could care less about that,” Curry said. “It’s more about looking at ourselves and letting a game like tonight slip. At the end of the day it would really be nice to get (eighth); you want two cracks at it. Like that would have been the goal. But you just want to have the best vibes going into a playoff or Play-In scenario.”

The Los Angeles Lakers survived a scare in Memphis and moved into the eighth spot, a game ahead of both the Kings and Warriors. If the Lakers win Sunday in New Orleans, they will clinch eighth, locking in a Warriors and Kings matchup in the 9 vs. 10 side of the Play-In.

But the Pelicans will be motivated, needing a win to ensure the sixth spot. So if the Lakers lose, the eighth seed is available again. The Kings get first crack. They play the 21-60 Blazers in Sacramento. The Kings get the eighth seed if they win and the Lakers lose.

If both the Lakers and Kings lose, the Warriors get eighth with a home win over a Jazz team that recently lost 13 in a row. All three games tip at 12:30 PT. If both the Lakers and Kings win, the Warriors are stuck in 10th, heading to Sacramento for an elimination game Wednesday night. If the Kings win, the Lakers lose and the Warriors win, the Warriors would host the Lakers on Wednesday night in Chase Center.

Plenty of scenarios remain possible, but it sounds like the Warriors are prepping to prioritize rest over chasing the unlikely dream that the Blazers actually find a way to beat the Kings. When asked if they’d think about resting some of their veterans against the Jazz, Kerr said: “Hell yeah.”

“Not the worst thing in the world,” Thompson said when asked about a possible day off.

“We’ll make that decision tomorrow,” Curry said.

(Photo of Zion Williamson stealing the ball from Steph Curry in the second quarter Friday: Kavin Mistry / Getty Images)

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