W's schedule a call for optimism?

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W's schedule a call for optimism?

Mike Kreuser
CSNBayArea.com

The road to the playoffs in the NBA is pretty simple. Your schedule is made up of games you are supposed to win, and games you aren’t supposed to win. The key is taking care of business in as many of the former as possible while stealing as many of the latter as you can.

So far the Warriors have done well in both categories. They had letdowns November 5th in Sacramento and on December 3rd at home against the Magic, but ground out wins against Phoenix, Cleveland, Minnesota, Detroit, Washington, and Charlotte.

[RELATED: Ratto - Surging Warriors ratchet up expectations]

On the other side of the coin, the Warriors are making a brand out of winning games they probably shouldn’t. They beat the Clippers and Mavericks on the second game of back-to-backs on the road. They swept the season series against a strong Brooklyn team.

Beating Miami in Miami in the midst of a 5 game road win streak? That is a different kind of win. Now there is not a game on the schedule that feels unwinnable. Miami played well, but the Warriors played better.

Up to this point the schedule has been kind to the Warriors. In Golden State’s first 22 games, their combined opponent win% is 48.0. In their next 5 games, the Blue & Gold have a great opportunity to pad their win total against a combined 38.8 win% (including 4 of the worst 9 teams in the NBA).

[REWIND: Instant replay -- Warriors 97, Miami 95]

After the next 5, the Warriors enter the toughest stretch of their schedule. 11 of their next 15 games are against teams above .500. The combined win % of those opponents is 58.2. 

Before beating Miami, that stretch seemed a likely place for the Warriors to come back to earth after their scorching start. Now? Well, nine of those games are at home, five are against teams they have already beat, the Lakers are struggling, the Celtics aren’t what they once were, etc.

Optimism abounds.

Since the Warriors missed the playoffs with 48 wins in 07-08, the average win % of the 6-8 seeds has been 59.5. That percentage translates to around 49 wins. To reach that total, the Warriors need to win 34 of their final 60 games. 

Two days ago, the next 20 games looked like a make-or-break stretch for the Warriors. Now it looks like an opportunity to not only solidify their spot in the playoff race, but presents a chance to challenge the top quarter of the league. 

Mike Kreuser is a production assistant at Comcast SportsNet. You can follow him on twitter: @MikeKreuser

John Wall commits to Wizards long term with huge contract extension

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USATSI

John Wall commits to Wizards long term with huge contract extension

The Washington Wizards' long-term future is now a lot clearer, as superstar point guard John Wall agreed to terms on a four-year contract worth $170 million. David Aldridge first reported the news.

Wall, 26, re-ups with the Wizards through the 2022-23 season. By the time it expires he will be 32 years old, meaning the Wizards have locked him up for the majority if not all of his prime.

Wall was able to earn the dollar amount he did in part because of his selection to third team All-NBA for the 2016-17 season. Under the recently installed collective bargaining agreement, honors like All-NBA and Defensive Player of the Year allow players to earn more money on contract extensions.

The Wizards drafted Wall first overall in 2010 out of the University of Kentucky. In his seven NBA seasons since, Wall has blossomed into one of the NBA's best players with career averages of 18.8 points, 9.2 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game. He has been an All-Star in each of the past four seasons and is a one-time All-Defensive team selection.

READ MORE AT CSNMidAtlantic.com

Kevin Love closes Twitter response with 'now go kick some rocks'

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USATI

Kevin Love closes Twitter response with 'now go kick some rocks'

On Friday afternoon, news broke that Kyrie Irving reportedly requested a trade from the Cavs.

Shortly thereafter, a Twitter account with over 296,000 followers tweeted the following:

[RATTO: Kyrie Irving needs to be traded to one place, and one place only]

A little over an hour later, Kevin Love responded:

On Tuesday night, Irving told Sports Illustrated the Cavs are "in a very peculiar place."

In the weeks between Cleveland's Game 5 loss to the Warriors and the start of free agency, Love was reportedly on the trading block.

The Cavs and GM David Griffin "mutually" parted ways three days before the NBA Draft.

Cleveland is finally finalizing a deal with assistant GM Coby Altman to become the permanent general manager, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

LeBron James can opt out and become a free agent next summer, and there is already speculation about where he may go.

Man. The last six weeks in Cleveland have been wild...

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller