With exactly thirty games left in the regular season, it felt like a worthwhile exercise to look at what the Warriors have on the rest of their schedule. While injuries and other factors can and will change the complexion of individual games, this overall order (from toughest to easiest) works for this point in time.
At Spurs (Mar. 19): An absolute bear of a game beyond the quality opponent. The Warriors will be on the tail end of a back-to-back (and three in four) while the Spurs have a home day off.
- At Thunder (Feb. 27): Their game at Oracle shortly before the break had some early signs that OKC may actually be the most challenging opponent for the Warriors all things equal. Both teams will have a day off before this one.
- At Clippers (Feb. 20): The Clippers have played the Warriors tough this season despite losing both contests in the end. This game is made more difficult by the context: the Warriors play in Portland the night before while the Clippers enjoy a rest day, albeit after playing the Spurs.
- At Spurs (April 10): There are a few reasons to put this higher. After all, the Warriors play in Memphis the night before while the Spurs have a travel day (coming from Denver) and the Spurs are the Spurs. However, this will be in the last week of the season and Pop is famous for resting key contributors then.
- At Jazz (Mar. 30): Sneaky tough game for the Warriors, who face the Wizards at Oracle the night before. Playing in Salt Lake City can be brutal, especially on a back-to-back and the Jazz also have the rest advantage.
—–Theoretically the line necessary to hold the regular season wins record alone—–
At Hawks (Feb. 22): The Warriors’ first game at Phillips Arena since one of the best matchups of the 2014-15 season will be their third in four nights with the off day being cross-country travel. To make matters worse, the Hawks have one off day before and three home off days after this game so they should be able to give their starters extra minutes if necessary.
- Vs. Thunder (Mar. 3): This would be higher on the list but the Thunder will come to Oracle off a brutal back-to-back after facing the Clippers the night before.
- Vs. Clippers (Mar. 23): The final regular season game of the year against Lob City will be the Warriors’ first game home from a road trip (always a potential problem spot) but the front end of a back-to-back for the Clippers.
- At Heat (Feb. 24): Miami has been one of the least consistent teams in the league but it looks like Goran Dragic and Dwayne Wade will be ready to play even if Chris Bosh is still a question mark (get well soon, Chris). Each team has one off day beforehand but the Heat get three after while the Warriors play the next night in Orlando.
- At Magic (Feb. 25): If I were to pick a “shocking” loss the rest of the way, this would be it. The Warriors play the night before in Miami while a Magic team that has already nearly knocked off the Spurs and Thunder at the Amway Center will be more rested.
Vs. Spurs (April 7): Another game that could be higher on the list but carries all the hallmarks of a Pop rest game. The Warriors have a home off day after facing Minnesota while the Spurs have one travel day coming from Utah and play in Denver the next night.
- At Mavericks (Mar. 18): Another sneaky tough game, especially since Dallas will still have plenty to play for in mid-March. The Warriors have one off day but this will be the night before their next Spurs game while Dallas has a travel day returning from Cleveland.
- Vs. Celtics (April 1): Brad Stevens’ Celtics squads have largely played the Warriors well but Golden State gets a big advantage here because the Celtics will be on a back-to-back coming from Portland.
- At Trail Blazers (Feb. 19): Both teams’ first game back from the All-Star break. Sort of a wild card but the Warriors have some structural advantages on the Blazers.
- Vs. Jazz (Mar. 9): One off day for Warriors, trail end of a back-to-back (home vs. Atlanta) for Utah.
- Vs. Hawks (Mar. 1): Interestingly, both teams will be playing their first game on the West Coast after travel. However, the Warriors have an extra day off and a shorter flight.
- At Grizzlies (April 9): If the Warriors had less recent ownage of the Grizzlies, this could be higher on the list. However, the Dubs also have a rest advantage (though they play the next night in San Antonio) because the Grizzlies play in Dallas the night before.
- Vs. Magic (Mar. 7): Yet again, the Magic get the Warriors on the trail end of a back-to-back. Orlando has two off days beforehand but head south to face the Lakers the next night.
Vs. Mavericks (Mar. 25): Even playing field (one day off for each) with the potential added motivation of another loss in Dallas to avenge.
- Vs. Trail Blazers (Mar. 11): One off day for Warriors and two off days for the Blazers but Portland will be on the front end of a back-to-back.
- Vs. Wizards (Mar. 29): One off day for Warriors, one off day coming from LA for the Wizards. Distinct chance Washington has packed it in at this point in the season.
- Vs. Trail Blazers (April 3): Notable rest advantage for the Warriors because Portland hosts Miami on the front end of this back-to-back.
- Vs. Knicks (Mar. 16): One off day for the Warriors, two off days for the Knicks.
- Vs. Grizzlies (April 13): The first time they see each other at Oracle since the 50-point shellacking will be after two off days for Warriors while Memphis will be on the tail end of a back-to-back. Brutal.
- At Timberwolves (Mar. 21): One off day for the Warriors, two off days (one travel) for the Timberwolves, who will likely be continuing their deceleration at that time.
- Vs. Pelicans (Mar. 14): Each team will have an off day beforehand and New Orleans could be in full tank mode after the deadline with Tyreke Evans already out for the season.
- Vs. Suns (Mar. 12): The tail end of a home back-to-back (and three in four) for the Warriors while the Suns will have one travel day from Denver. Unfortunately for Phoenix, they have been the worst team in the league since Eric Bledsoe’s injury.
- Vs. Timberwolves (April 5): A potentially fun game if everyone plays but one the Warriors absolutely should win. One off day for Warriors, travel day from home for the Wolves.
- Vs. 76ers (Mar. 27): One off day for the Dubs, trail end of a back-to-back from Portland for the Sixers and it still is not the easiest game on the schedule because…
- At Lakers (Mar. 6): Two off days and the only road game of that stretch for the Warriors while the Lakers have an off day and are terrible.
Of course, the awkward part about taking the time to do this is that at least two of Golden State’s four losses this year would have been in the bottom half in difficulty assuming equal health, showing how important having Curry, Klay, Draymond and everyone else on the court is for team success. That said, it is still good to know where the potential pitfalls could be and what progress looks like.