March schedule favors Warriors
Sixteen of the Warriors final 22 games are at Oracle Arena, many against sub .500 teams. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
If you’re a fan of the Warriors, who have now lost 10 of their past 13 games, you’re probably in need of a feel-good story. And this one might be it.
Yes, these are troubled times for the Warriors (33-27), who have not only lost four straight but also their mojo. Earlier in the season the Warriors were getting offensive contributions from a variety of players and their defense was surprisingly effective.
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They parlayed that into a 22-10 start amid rumblings that this team could challenge for homecourt in the postseason. And assuming Andrew Bogut was back and healthy, who knows how far they could push?
But the Warriors are just 11-17 in the past two months, Bogut’s status is uncertain, and now it’s about simply getting into the playoffs.
And I’m here to tell you that’s still going to happen. OK, let me soften that a touch … that’s still likely to happen.
The reason: we’ve reached the portion of the schedule that’s had everyone drooling for a little while now, and it’s the kind of stretch run that should propel the Warriors into the postseason for the first time since 2006-07.
Sixteen of the Warriors’ final 22 games are at Oracle Arena, where they have compiled an 18-7 mark. Nine of those 16 games come against sub .500 teams.
Three of their last six road games are also against inferior teams – New Orleans, Phoenix and Portland – so it’s not as if there aren’t a couple of away wins to be had, either.
For the Warriors not to make the playoffs this season, a lot would have to go wrong for them, and a lot would have to go right for three other teams.
Three teams – Utah, Houston and the L.A. Lakers – would all have to leap-frog the Warriors for Golden State to not get in. Heading into Sunday’s games, the Warriors led Utah by a half-game, Houston by a game and the Lakers by 3 ½ games.
For the purposes of this discussion, the Portland Trail Blazers, who are five in back of the Warriors, and Dallas Mavericks, who are six in back of Golden State, are out of consideration.
It’s tough to see Utah, Houston and the Lakers each surging for the final six weeks of the season, while the Warriors struggle. Both the Jazz and Lakers, for example, have more road games than home games to end the regular season.
Both of those teams are 10-19 on the road this season, so is it realistic to believe that both teams are going to win seven or eight of their final 12 away from their home arenas? That’s asking a lot.
The Rockets finish with 13 of their final 22 at home so there’s a chance they aren’t going anywhere. But the Warriors have an advantage there, too, with their lone remaining game against the Rockets coming at Oracle.
If you take a look at the Warriors’ remaining schedule, there are plenty of winnable games at home -- Toronto, Sacramento (twice), Detroit, Washington, Portland, New Orleans. They’ve also got home games against Houston, Milwaukee, Minnesota and Utah.
For the Warriors to fall out of this thing they would have to start losing games to losing teams at home, and it would have to happen more than once or twice. That’s hard to envision when one team – the Warriors – will be grinding to make the postseason – and the other teams will likely be primarily winding down.
So, how many games do the Warriors have to win of their final 22 to make it into the playoffs? Let’s put it this way … if the Warriors win most – not even all -- of the games they should win, they’ll get in without a scare.