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Road-weary Wizards visit streaking Warriors

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Washington Wizards complete the West Coast portion of their marathon road to the regular-season finish line when they visit the Golden State Warriors on Sunday night.

The Wizards played 12 road games in March, including three in the past five days to begin a four-city Western swing.

The results in March were surprisingly good, with Washington recording wins at Toronto, Phoenix, Denver, Sacramento, Portland, Atlanta, Brooklyn, Cleveland and Los Angeles.

Alas, the NBA schedule-maker's cruelty didn't end with the flip of the calendar. The Wizards have four road games remaining among their final six regular-season matchups.

Fortunately for the Wizards, they have done so well on their ongoing test that they have assured themselves of a pair of home dates to open the playoffs later this month by virtue of having clinched a top-four finish in the Eastern Conference.

Despite having lost two in a row, Washington (46-30) will take the court Sunday tied with Toronto (46-30) for the No. 3 seed in the East. The Raptors, who host Philadelphia on Sunday, hold the tiebreaker by virtue of winning the season series 2-1.

The frustration of consecutive losses at a critical point in the season could be heard in star guard John Wall's voice after Friday's 95-88 loss at Utah.

Wall got nailed with his 15th technical foul of the season -- one shy of an automatic one-game suspension -- in a game where the home team was sent to the free throw line 31 times while the visiting Wizards had just 16 foul shots.

"The way they've been officiating today doesn't make no sense," Wall told reporters after the game. "To shoot 31 free throws to 16. We're an aggressive team that attacks the basket. That don't make sense."

The Warriors had 27 free throws to the Wizards' 20 when the clubs met on Feb. 28 in Washington. The Wizards were able to overcome the discrepancy in a 112-108 win, to which Wall contributed 19 assists.

Seeing the Wizards again won't bring back happy memories for Golden State, and not just because of the final score. The Warriors lost Kevin Durant in that game to a sprained knee.

Durant won't play Sunday night, but is expected to return before the end of the regular season.

Golden State has adapted well to the loss of Durant. After losing four of their first six games without him, the Warriors have run off 10 straight victories, the longest active winning streak in the league.

The Warriors have been particularly impressive in the past week, beating Memphis, Houston twice and San Antonio while holding three of the four foes to 98 points or fewer.

"It's been a great week," Warriors coach Steve Kerr gushed after Friday's home win over Houston. "The biggest thing is that our defense, during this 10-game streak, has been fantastic. We are routinely holding teams to a low shooting percentage. I think over (the 10-game stretch), teams have shot less than 40 percent total, and that's a pretty amazing number in the NBA."

The Warriors (62-14) are 3 1/2 games up on San Antonio (58-17) in the duel for the top seed in the Western Conference.

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