Each of them is special, but a few are more special than the rest. Here are seven dates — with a little cheating — to circle on your calendar, in chronological order.
October 18 — vs. the Los Angeles Lakers
There’s nothing quite like the first game of the season, especially when it’s one of the marquee games on the NBA’s first day of the year.
The Warriors have a little bit of a mixed relationship with these games over the last few seasons.
Just two years ago, with Steph Curry returning after a lost season, the new-look Dubs visited Kevin Durant’s Brooklyn Nets on opening night. It was seen as a barometer game. They lost by 26 points and, three days later, lost to the Milwaukee Bucks by 39.
Last year the Warriors opened the season by visiting the Lakers — something that was again viewed as a barometer, since we didn’t yet know how good the Dubs would be or how bad the Lakeshow would be. The Warriors won by seven, beginning a stretch in which they won 18 of their first 20 games.
Opening night this year isn’t the same barometer, because now the Warriors are looking down at their opponent, rather than up at them. But it’s still a huge day. We finally get to have basketball again. The Warriors get their rings and will raise their banner. And then they battle a team that, despite a disappointing 2021-22, still has LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
November 23 — vs. the Los Angeles Clippers
By my viewpoint, the Clippers are the Warriors biggest threat in the West. With a superstar tandem of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, a cast of high-quality role players like Reggie Jackson, Luke Kennard, Nicolas Batum, and Ivica Zubac, a potential game-changer in John Wall, and one of the league’s top coaches in Ty Lue, the Clippers have their sights firmly set on a title, and who can blame them?
We won’t learn too much from one November game. Beating the Clippers doesn’t mean the Warriors have their number, and losing to them doesn’t mean there’s a new top dog in the West, but it is Golden State’s first glance at the team they may have to go through if they want to repeat.
November 27 — @ the Minnesota Timberwolves
I don’t expect the Timberwolves to be a team that contends for the West, but they certainly have the talent to make things very interesting.
This game is fascinating to me for three reasons. First, the Warriors will get their initial glance at the new-look Wolves, to see just how good a core of Karl-Anthony Towns, Rudy Gobert, Anthony Edwards, and D’Angelo Russell can be. Second, Andrew Wiggins gets to face off against his former team, which always seems to bring out the absolute best in him. And third, and most importantly, how will the two teams match up against each other when Minnesota starts two centers, and the Warriors prefer to play small?
Should just be a really fun game.
December 10 — vs. the Boston Celtics
Finals rematches are always fun. The Celtics will be motivated to get some revenge. The Warriors will be motivated to remind Boston who the better team is.
It should be a game full of tension and intensity, which is always a gift. And maybe it will be another Finals preview?
December 21 — @ the Brooklyn Nets
There’s no team in the NBA that is less stable than the Nets. So when I say that, if everyone is healthy and available, the Dubs will finally get to face the triumvirate of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Ben Simmons, the “if” needs to be bolded, italicized, underlined, and capitalized.
But this is potentially the Warriors first chance to face that team, after an offseason of drama from their former superstar, Durant. There’s no way this game isn’t dramatic.
December 25 — vs. the Memphis Grizzlies
We’ve got ourselves quite the rivalry budding here. Ja Morant vs. Steph Curry. Jaren Jackson Jr. vs. Draymond Green. Dillon Brooks vs. boos from every single person in the greater Bay Area.
What a Christmas present!
March 9, 11, 13, and 15 — @ the Memphis Grizzlies, vs. the Milwaukee Bucks, vs. the Phoenix Suns, and @ the Los Angeles Clippers
I’m cheating by going with four games for the seventh game.
You might notice that all the other games I chose are early in the season. That’s because we know which early-season games will be exciting, as that’s usually when the Warriors play their first games against intriguing teams.
It’s harder to know what late-season games will be compelling, because we don’t yet know what teams will emerge as serious players.
So I’m taking this stretch of four games in seven nights, against four teams that I figure will be among the league’s elite this season. I feel safe positing that two or three of these teams will look like championship contenders that have an eye on disrupting the Dubs’ dynasty. And with three of them being in the Western Conference, there’s a good chance that some of these games will have large implications in the postseason standings.
But more importantly, with the playoffs being less than a month away, this string of intense games will give us some insight into who the Warriors are. If I could look into a crystal ball and see how the Dubs do over a four-game stretch this year, it would be this one. It should tell us if they’re favorites, contenders, outsiders, or having a bust of a season.
Less than two months until opening night, Dub Nation. I cannot wait.