Golden State Warriors must simply find a way to victory in season's biggest test

Dallas Mavericks v Golden State Warriors
Dallas Mavericks v Golden State Warriors / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

The Golden State Warriors will visit American Airlines Center on Wednesday in what projects as arguably their biggest game of the season to date against the Dallas Mavericks.

After being on the doorstep of overtaking the Mavericks for the eight-seed last week, the Warriors are again 10th in the Western Conference and 2.5 games back from Dallas after two losses in their past three games.

On the road and without Stephen Curry, the Golden State Warriors simply must find a way to beat the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday

Wednesday's game will be the first of three between the two teams over the remainder of the season, each of which will prove pivotal in the final regular season standings. Golden State's task has been made all the more difficult with confirmation superstar Stephen Curry will miss his third-straight game with an ankle injury.

The Warriors revealed on Tuesday that Curry was making good progress, outlining that the two-time MVP has been cleared to resume basketball activities in the Bay Area before his anticipated return to practice in Los Angeles on Friday.

With Curry out of action, Golden State will enter as outsiders and are currently +250 with Fanduel Sportsbook. The good news is that their injury report is otherwise clear, while Dallas are set to be at full strength.

Luka Doncic, Derrick Jones Jr., Jonathan Kuminga
Dallas Mavericks v Golden State Warriors / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

Can the Warriors find a way to curb the influence of MVP candidate Luka Doncic? The Slovenian superstar leads the league in scoring this season, having put up 39 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists in the teams' previous meeting on December 30.

Doncic has powered the sixth-best offense in the league season, yet the Mavericks are undoubtedly gettable on the defensive end of the floor where they've often struggled. With Dallas ranking 22nd in defense on the season, can Golden State find a way to expose their flaws and come away with an upset victory?

While Steve Kerr will continue to lean on his younger players, Wednesday's result may be defined by the Warrior veterans. Could Chris Paul and Klay Thompson match or better the impact of Doncic and Irving? Could Draymond Green lead a defense that stifles the Mavericks' offense just enough?

It doesn't really matter how it happens, but the Warriors need to find a way to win this game. Fail to do so and their hopes of garnering a top eight seed becomes exponentially more difficult by season's end.