In case you missed it, the 2018-19 NBA schedule was officially unveiled yesterday. We now know when and where the Golden State Warriors 82 games will take place, and can all start planning our calendars accordingly.
Golden State's 2018-19 Schedule: pic.twitter.com/kYvu2CZXsw— Warriors PR (@WarriorsPR) August 10, 2018
It’s always fun to look over the schedule and see what stands out, what parts of the season will be the most difficult, and what parts will be most fun. Here are a few observations about the schedule:
The hardest stretch
Golden State has a pair of five-game road trips this year, and the second one is quite brutal. From January 18-28, they’ll play a quintet of road games against the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Washington Wizards, Boston Celtics, and Indiana Pacers. That’s five games, with four teams who will most likely be in the playoffs.
Still, it’s not the worst stretch, in my eyes. That comes later, with an 11-game stretch spanning nearly a month, from February 25 until March 19. The Warriors begin that time with a four-game road trip, that features a back-to-back, and ends against the Philadelphia 76ers. They then come home for three games, but those games feature the Celtics and the Denver Nuggets.
Then it’s back on the road for an insane four-game road trip that starts against the Houston Rockets, then goes to the Oklahoma City Thunder, and concludes with a back-to-back against the San Antonio Spurs and Minnesota Timberwolves. Yikes.
The easiest stretch
Golden State gets to start the year with a pretty soft stretch, that should allow them to establish top positioning in the Western Conference. After a trio of games against difficult opponents to open things up, the schedule softens dramatically.
From October 22 to November 13, the Dubs play 12 games. Eight of those 12 are at home, only four games come against teams that made the playoffs last year, and none of the games are against teams who had a top-five seed.
By the end of that stretch, the Warriors could be on top of the conference by a sizable margin.
The NBA continues to seek out ways to get teams extra rest in the grueling 82-game season. Golden State only has 13 back-to-backs this year, which is one fewer than last year, and a much smaller amount than in the years prior. And, like all other teams in the league, they will not have any stretches with four games in five nights.
Also of note is that the team only has one nationally televised game on the back end of a back-to-back, which comes when they host the New Orleans Pelicans on January 16, after a game in Denver the night before. You may recall that the Warriors (and the Spurs, and the Cleveland Cavaliers) have butted heads with the league in the past for resting star players on nationally televised games. This should help avoid that.
The Warriors roster will be a little bit different this year, which can only mean one thing - there will be tribute nights. JaVale McGee, now with the Lakers, will return to Oracle on Christmas day. Zaza Pachulia, now playing for the Detroit Pistons, will come back to Oakland on March 24. You can expect nice video tributes for both big men.
Omri Casspi, who signed with the Memphis Grizzlies, will make his appearance on November 5, and while he’ll likely get a nice ovation from the crowd, I wouldn’t bank on a video tribute, since the team cut him before the playoffs last year. However, there may be a video tribute for performance trainer Chelsea Lane when she shows up on November 13 as a member of the Atlanta Hawks.
David West has yet to sign with a team, so no word on when he would get a tribute. There’s a strong chance he retires, in which case you can expect him to show up courtside one day to a huge ovation.
And there you have it. Everything you need to know about the 2018-19 schedule, and then some.