State of the Warriors
After going through a six-game losing streak that looked as though it would never end, the Golden State Warriors (33-23) finally bounced back and won three games in a row.
The Warriors still have concerns at present time given Andrew Bogut’s issues with a disk protrusion in his back, but the string of victories have allowed the Dubs faithful to breath a sigh of relief.
Also, it’s worth noting that one of those victories came against a San Antonio Spurs team that owns the best record in the NBA at this point in the season, which probably served as a huge confidence boost for a team leaving home for about a week or so.
Indeed, the Warriors will start a four-game eastern road trip tonight that will see them face some tough opposition in the Indiana Pacers (35-21), New York Knicks (33-20), Boston Celtics (30-27) and Philadelphia 76ers (22-32).
The road trip will essentially be the start of the final portion of the schedule for a Golden State team poised to make a run at a postseason berth. What does the remainder of the NBA season have in store for the Dubs though?
A quick peek:
- Games left: 26
- Home games left: 16
- Road games left: 10
- Games versus opponents with .500 record or better: 11
- Games versus opponents with sub-.500 record: 15
In addition, let’s look at the games on the calendar that the Golden State Warriors have to play against the league’s elite (at least third best record in any conference):
- February 26th: at Indiana Pacers
- February 27th: at New York Knicks
- March 11th: New York Knicks
- March 20th: at San Antonio Spurs
- April 11th: Oklahoma City Thunder
- April 15th: San Antonio Spurs (potential game where Poppovich rests starters)
One last quick tidbit, although the Los Angeles Lakers aren’t an elite team at this juncture, they have owned the Warriors in the past two seasons and the Dubs still get them two more times before the end of the regular season.
So what does this all mean?
The Golden State Warriors are obviously a good bet to make the postseason, but the breakdown of the remaining schedule tells us it won’t be easy.
The Hollinger Playoff Odds (simulates the remainder of the regular season 5,000 times to determine each team’s record) gives Golden State a 90.8 percent chance of making the playoffs and projects them to finish as the seventh overall seed in the Western Conference.
As it stands, the calculator has them finishing the season with 46 wins — basically splitting their games the rest of the way — but suggests their best-case scenario could be 56 victories.
If there is one area of concern, it has to be their average scoring margin. At present time, it stands at minus-0.14, which typically is reserved for teams that aren’t quite good.
As previously discussed, their scoring margin is that of a team projected to finish with a .500 record currently.
This could be cause for concern, but Warriors fans can take solace in the fact that Golden State has played the second toughest schedule (measured by average winning percentage of opponents played) of any team ranked in the top 15 of the Hollinger Power Rankings. In other words, they haven’t played against a bunch of cream puffs this season and that undoubtedly ties in to their negative scoring differential.
This may in part explain why ESPN.COM’s Marc Stein ranked the Dubs ninth in his weekly Power Rankings, but it’s also clear that the victory over the Spurs was just as important. He notes:
“Raise your hands: Who thought that a six-game skid, combined with word that Andrew Bogut (back) is ailing anew, put the Dubs at risk for getting dragged into the Lakers’ sights in the race for No. 8 out West? That’s why Golden State’s first victory over the Spurs since 2008 was so big.”
The rest of the season is bound to bring some intrigue, but for once, the Dubs are right in the middle of it.
Warrior of the Week
After finally putting an end to the much publicized six-game losing streak, the Golden State Warriors bounced back by winning three straight games and one player shined brightest during this most recent winning stretch.
Our very own Rasheed Malek had this to say about the Golden State Warriors’ player of the week:
Off the strength of his magnificent performance versus the San Antonio Spurs in which he carried the team to victory by hitting multiple big shots on his way to a 30 and 10 night off the bench. He also continued his stellar play against the Timberwolves as he woke the Warriors up from their sluggish start by scoring bucket after bucket in the first half, not to mention a stiff forearm to the chest of Greg Stiemsma, which sparked the Warriors and ultimately got them the win in Minnesota.
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