My fellow fans of the Golden State Warriors, please take a little trip through time with me. Almost exactly one year ago we were a team struggling in the month of March. The San Antonio Spurs had been nipping at our heels all season and were poised to steal the top seed in the West. Playing without an injured Kevin Durant, the Warriors dropped what many fans called a “must win” game to the Minnesota Timberwolves. An ennui-laden loss that prodded coach Steve Kerr into resting pretty much everybody in the subsequent game against that same Spurs team that was in a heated race for supremacy with us.
Welp, the Warriors lost that one too. Panic ensued. Folks were calling for Kerr to get fired. It was this huge, egregious error that possibly cost us the entire season. So many parallels.
But then, guess what happened after that Spurs game? The Warriors finished strong, going 31-2 for the rest of the season and marching into - and then through - the playoffs.
Don’t lose hope.
And speaking of one year ago...
Who: Goldent State Warriors vs. Los Angeles Lakers
When: Wednesday, March 14th @7:30 p.m.
Where: Oracle Arena
Watch: NBCSBA, ESPN
Listen: 95.7 The Game
Blog buddy: Silver Screen and Roll
Warriors are still extremely banged up
I’ll keep this one relatively short because there just isn’t much new information to provide. The Warriors are still without their best player (outside of Klay Thompson’s Instagram game, of course). Compounding the struggle, we are also without the meat of our bench core rotation as David West and Andre Iguodala continue to recuperate from an injured arm and wrist, respectively. Jordan Bell seems to still be out with a sprained ankle, and Patrick McCaw continues to work his way back from a fractured wrist.
While this is a “no excuses” league, the sheer amount of talent on the sidelines for these games is certainly a solid explanation for any struggles. I mean...look at this, the Warriors aren’t even typing it all out anymore, they’re just attaching pictures to their PR tweets:
Warriors injury report for tomorrow's game vs. the Lakers: pic.twitter.com/80DmJXRYgQ— Warriors PR (@WarriorsPR) March 14, 2018
The Lakers aren’t great yet... but they aren’t bad
It’s easy to overlook the Lakers right now. As they play out the tail end of a season spent developing their young talent, they find themselves on the outside of a very competitive Western playoff race. But Lonzo Ball is actually pretty good, Julias Randle just hung a career-high 36 points on Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, and coach Luke Walton is working whatever magic he works.
There are plenty of warning signs present for this game that don’t even include the Warriors current injury issues. If you’ll recall, although the Warriors have won all three matchups between these two teams this season, two of those games went to OT. With only the skeleton crew available, you can bet that the Lakers are going to be coming out with fire in their eyes - hoping to knock down both the Cavs and then Warriors in subsequent games would be just the sort of small victory a struggling team would crave as their lost season winds down to a close.
In particular, pay attention to the Lakers on offense. According to the NBA, they’ve averaged 10.7 more points per 100 possessions since the All Star break, and have scored at least 100 points in 21 straight games, their longest streak since 1988.
One last note on the Lakers: they’re expected to be without Kevin Durant-esque wing Brandon Ingram, who is out with a minor hip injury. He’s one of the players that did some damage against us, so it will bear watching to see if his replacement is able to somewhat duplicate those contributions.
Standings, seedings, and the absolutely insane race in the West
Heading into last night’s NBA action, only two games separated 4th-place OKC Thunder from 10th-place Spurs; and all of these (4th-10th) teams played last night. While the Warriors are relatively safely ensconced in that second seed, there’s really no telling how the eventual opponent matchups will eventually shake out.
The chaos down below in the Warriors are well out of our control, but sure does make the final month of the season interesting.
Starting with this game against the Lakers, the Warriors are in for their busiest final stretch - four games in six days. Following the Lakers, the Warriors will face the Sacramento Kings on Friday, followed by a back-to-back against the Phoenix Suns on the road; and then they will travel to San Antonio for a Monday game to complete the little two-game road trip. Then they have three days off.
In this final stretch health and rhythm are more important than anything. Looking at the schedule it seems like you can expect to see some of our main guys back next weekend, which would allow ten full games of post-season prep while still maximizing rest and recovery time.