The Golden State Warriors start off the week with some momentum after a thrilling come-from-behind overtime win against the Milwaukee Bucks. That win was much needed, but the team isn’t out of the woods yet despite being sixth in the Western Conference. In fact, they are only 2.5 games ahead of 12th place, and they face a tough schedule to close out the regular season, beginning with this week’s slate of games.
The Warriors are set to play four games, each against playoff teams, and a bad week could easily drop them out of the playoffs, at least temporarily. Therefore, let’s look ahead and rank this week’s games by the level of importance.
#4 Golden State at Atlanta Hawks-March 17th
The Atlanta Hawks are a good but not great team that is capable of putting up points in bunches thanks to the all-star backcourt of Trae Young and Dejounte Murray. That being said, this is the most winnable game this week for the Warriors, and they need this one in the win bank.
Of course, the Warriors are a completely different team on the road this season. While they are an incredible 28-7 at home, they are a pitiful 7-26 on the road, which is a similar road record to the league’s worst teams. That makes this game more of a toss-up but still one that the Warriors must have to avoid going winless this week.
#3 Phoenix Suns at Golden State-March 13th
Golden State won’t be facing the Phoenix Suns at full strength, but the Monday game is still a big deal. Beating one of the most talented teams in the NBA is important, and the way the standings are, having a good conference record may come in handy, especially if they end up with the same record as another team and split the season series.
Given the Warriors’ strength playing at home, this appears to be the second likely win of the week, but the Suns are still plenty talented even without Durant, so this game is far from a gimme.
# 2 Golden State at Memphis Grizzlies-March 18th
The Memphis Grizzlies are the team that everyone loves to hate, and frankly, they brought it on themselves with how they acted. There’s the Ja Morant situation, and then there is Dillion Brooks. Brooks is one of the most outspoken players in the NBA and has even taken to calling out power forward Draymond Green as well as the Warriors in general. Beating him—I mean them—would help shut up an upstart team that, while incredibly talented, hasn’t actually won anything just yet.
However, Golden State will have their work cut out for them. Even without Morant, starting center Steven Adams, and backup big Brandon Clark, Memphis beat them convincingly only a few days ago. That should serve as added motivation for this team to go into Memphis and pick up a statement win.
#1 Golden State at Los Angeles Clippers-March 15th
While the Grizzlies are more of a rival to the Warriors, the game against the Los Angeles Clippers is more important. After all, the Clippers are just a game ahead of the Warriors in the West standings at the time of writing, and a win would go a long way toward helping Golden State make the postseason.
It would also serve as a great test for Golden State, considering their struggles on the road. When healthy, the Clippers are as talented as any team in the West, and beating them would help prove that the Warriors still have what it takes to make a deep playoff run.
Overall, the Warriors face a tough week’s worth of games, and going winless could result in them sliding down the standings. Fortunately, I expect them to beat both the Hawks, Suns, and Grizzlies and go 3-1 this week.