In a odd scheduling quirk, the Golden State Warriors have not played since their loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday night. The Warriors will begin their stretch run on Friday night against the Memphis Grizzlies, who are suddenly surging and are only one game back of the Warriors for the sixth seed.
What appeared to be a certainty for Golden State of making the postseason may not be tougher than they thought.
The Warriors are only a half game back of the Portland Trail Blazers for the fifth spot but only 1.5 games ahead of Dallas and Phoenix for the eighth and final spot. It would behoove the Warriors to beat Memphis to give themselves a two game advantage over the Grizzlies and a split of the season series, 2-2. If they were to lose on Friday, they would be tied with Memphis for the sixth seed and lose the season series to the Grizzlies, 3-1.
After the Warriors face the Grizzlies, Golden State’s schedule becomes very favorable, facing only three playoff teams the rest of the season in Dallas, San Antonio and Portland, all on the road. In seasons past, you could pencil in losses for each of these teams on the road but this is not your typical Warriors team. This Warriors team have actually been road warriors (pun intended), sporting a 21-15 record, winning 15 of their last 21 games on the road. The Warriors should have no fear against these teams because they have already won in Portland, lost by two in San Antonio without Stephen Curry and have always had success in Dallas.
The remaining games come against the worst teams in the NBA, starting with the New York Knicks on Sunday night at Oracle Arena. The Knicks were playing their best basketball of the season, looking like they were going to catch the Atlanta Hawks for eighth and final playoff spot in the East. They had won eight straight but disappointing losses to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers have them reeling and searching for answers. Golden State should take care of business on Sunday and have New York looking forward to the NBA lottery.
After a Texas two-step in Dallas and San Antonio, Golden State will return for a three-game homestand against the Kings, Jazz and Nuggets. Anything less of a sweep will be unacceptable as three of the worst Western conference teams come to town. The Warriors will then go back on the road to Los Angeles to meet their old friend Kent Bazemore and the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center. Staples Center has been a house of horrors for the Warriors, who have lost 11 straight there and a win will be tough against the free-flowing Lakers.
The Warriors will then head north to Portland in a game that may decide the fifth seed in the West. Portland is struggling right now, losing three straight and seven of the last ten with the biggest reason being the loss of All-Star power forward, LaMarcus Aldridge. Aldridge could return to the lineup as soon as tonight against Atlanta, so it would be expected that he will face Golden State in early April.
The Warriors’ last two games come against Minnesota at home and Denver on the road. These games should be easy wins if Golden State has not clinched a playoff berth by this point. Given that the Warriors are completely healthy for this stretch with Andre Iguodala and Andrew Bogut, coming back from their nagging injuries and playing up to their capabilities, the Warriors should finish this stretch no less than 8-3. That would give Golden State a 52-30 record, their best record since the 1991-92 season and third best record in franchise history.
March 28: vs. Memphis (W)
March 30: vs. NY Knicks (W)
April 1: @ Dallas (W)
April 2: @ San Antonio (L)
April 4: vs. Sacramento (W)
April 6: vs. Utah (W)
April 10: vs. Denver (W)
April 11: @ LA Lakers (L)
April 13: @ Portland (W)
April 14: vs. Minnesota (W)
April 16: @ Denver (L)
Warriors finishing record: 52-30, 5th seed in the Western Conference