The Warriors’ 2014-15 schedule has been released, and with that comes a slew of marquee games for one of the newest contenders in the NBA. This team has star power, a highly competitive roster with hopes of winning a championship and last but certainly not least, the best fan base in the league.
The release of the schedule marks one more chore off the off-season checklist. The season is almost upon us. As with every release comes an intense glance at what games will be considered marquee and what games you might want to stay at home for. Here’s my list of the 10 games that should mark the height of your interest:
11/1 — Lakers vs. Warriors
Anytime the Lakers visit Oracle Arena it’s a must-see, but the home opener this season contains more storylines than in any previous matchup between these teams in the Lacob era: Kobe Bryant’s return, Steve Kerr’s home debut, the Splash Brothers’ return from Team USA, the return of Brandon Rush and Festus Ezeli and Jim Barnett’s return, just to name a few. Add on the pollution of Oracle Arena by hoards of Lakers fans and you have the recipe for a fantastic home opener.
11/5 — Clippers vs. Warriors
The Lakers-Warriors rivalry used to be one the best rivalry the Warriors had going, but since the Lakeshow’s demise and the rise of the Clippers, the script has been flipped. Not to mention the real disdain between them and a heated playoff matchup last season and you have the hottest, freshest rivalry in the NBA.
Curry vs. CP3
Thompson vs. Redick
Lee vs. Griffin
Bogut vs. Jordan
Bogut vs. Griffin
Green vs. Griffin
Ryan Hollins vs. Intelligence
So many great individual battles, it might take another playoff series to really grasp which team is better. Andrew Bogut missed their playoff series, and given his history of tough play against their Southern California counterparts, I’d make sure the DVR is set for this one.
11/23 Warriors vs. Thunder
All three games between both the Thunder and Warriors were classics. The first included Andre Iguodala’s turnaround game-winner, the second included a ridiculous Russell Westbrook dagger in the corner and the final game included a humble 54 points from the MVP Kevin Durant. These incredible outcomes had fans begging for a Warriors-Thunder playoff series at some point, and if the Warriors take Game 7 in Los Angeles that dream would’ve become a reality.
Regardless, there’s major star power with both these squads. The two-headed monster in Oklahoma City needs no introduction and neither does the best backcourt in the NBA. While the Warriors haven’t fared well in Oklahoma City as of late, their improved coaching staff and bench should prove to be beneficial against the elite teams in the league. Here’s there chance.
11/28 — Warriors vs. Hornets
The usually subdued Curry made headlines this off-season when he said that “everybody dreams” about playing for their hometown team:
“I’ve always had thoughts about playing at home, what it would be like. My dad played there for 10 years, and people around the Greater Charlotte area in North Carolina have done a lot for my family growing up, so you always think about it. Right now I feel like I’ve got three years left on my deal, so this isn’t going to be an issue for me for a while. I love the Bay Area and where we are as a team trying to win a championship, and that’s what it’s all about. Of course everybody dreams about or thinks about what it’s going to be like to play at home. Obviously if that opportunity comes along it’s a different discussion.”
Those are scary words from the team’s franchise player, a player entering the prime years of his career and playing under one of the best bargain contracts in all of sports. He’s no threat to leave now, but he’s absolutely thought about it. Regardless, his first game back since these comments will be interesting.
12/18 — Thunder vs. Warriors (TNT)
Oklahoma City now brings their squad to Oracle in their first game in the building since Iguodala’s infamous game-winner. You can bet the Thunder have circled this game on their calendars. I know the NBA masses have as well.
12/25 — Warriors vs. Clippers (TNT)
If you play on Christmas, you’ve made it. Whether you’re an elite team, serious contender or play in a marquee market, Christmas Day games are reserved for the cream of the NBA crop. For this holiday special, fans will be treated to another heated matchup between the California rivals.
Make your coffee, open the presents and enjoy each other’s company with the help of NBA basketball. Now that’s special.
1/9 — Cavaliers vs. Warriors (ESPN)
LeBron James. Oracle Arena. Need I say more?
James, back with Cleveland, absolutely loves playing at Oracle Arena. Take this for example:
Amazing plays by an amazing player in an amazing atmosphere.
Oh, and did I mention Kyrie Irving? What about that Kevin Love guy, who the Warriors nearly traded for in exhausting trade talks that eventually landed him with King James. Emotions will be running high on both sides.
ESPN chose correctly.
1/27 — Bulls vs. Warriors
If Derrick Rose isn’t playing, this game goes way down my list of marquee games. But, I’m assuming (and hoping) for the best from Rose this season. Rose is one of the few players in the league that I strongly urge people to see play live. He’s a unique blend of athleticism, acrobatics and composure.
Sadly, we’ve been riddled of seeing the former MVP due to numerous injuries. He’s still 25! There’s still time for Rose to get back to his old self and once again reign supreme on the pantheon of NBA guards. It’ll take time, but I fully expect a strong return from the Chicago native.
The NBA community needs him.
2/7 — Warriors vs. Knicks
Like LeBron James at Oracle Arena, Stephen Curry at Madison Square Garden should automatically be set for record on the DVR. Need I remind everyone:
The Boy loves the bright lights. As someone who was in the building for his triple-double last season, I can see why. He’s beloved in New York. Curry’s style of play opens himself up to much praise and an increased level of entertainment for fans, and he’s become a traveling attraction.
Besides his hometown of Charlotte, New York brings the most Curry fans out into the limelight. The Basketball Mecca welcomes him with open arms, and judging by his play at said arena and the reception he receives: it’s not ending anytime soon.
4/9 — Blazers vs. Warriors (TNT)
This will be the 78th game of the season, an NBA on TNT matchup that will surely have serious playoff implications. Portland made waves last season with an impressive start out of the gates and one of the most complete – albeit young — rosters in the league. Will Portland fall victim to a sophomore slump?
Will a team equally on the rise with new pieces be competing for a similar playoff position? This is highly likely, and with a slew of competitive games in their history a repeat is surely likely. Portland is complete yet young. The Warriors are oddly experienced yet new to the scene.
This game will be important, but for who and what we’ll have to see.