The Warriors start early against the division rival Clippers.
The 2013-14 Golden State Warriors’ schedule is packed with more anticipated games this regular season than in previous years. The team is ready for the upcoming challenges, as it has a solid starting five with Harrison Barnes getting sixth-man duty in his sophomore season.
Important games come early in the season, as the Warriors want to establish credibility and build upon the foundation that they set up at the end of last season. The Warriors have a realistic shot at winning the Pacific Division this season, but they will have to win more games than the up-and-coming Los Angeles Clippers.
The Warriors will get four games against those Clippers, and they will also have to face their old assistant coach, Mike Malone and his Sacramento Kings. The bigger matchups will be outside of the division, where they will get a better assessment of where this team stands.
With that being said, let’s get a closer look at the games that will really stand out for the Warriors this upcoming season.
The Warriors open up with back-to-back matchups versus Los Angeles based teams, but the most exciting game comes via the Los Angeles Clippers. The two teams will meet up four times this season, including a Christmas Night tilt, but this game will set the tone between the two franchises.
The Warriors were very successful last season versus the Clips with a 3-1 record, and they slowed down both Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. Who can’t remember David Lee screaming out to Griffin to stop flopping?
The Clippers will look to exploit the Warriors with Chris Paul at the point and will try to use Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan to their maximum potential. The Clippers will also be using their new acquisitions of J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley to give them more perimeter depth.
The Warriors will counter the Clipper attack with Lee and Andrew Bogut in the frontcourt and show off the new addition of Andrew Iguodala at the 3 position. Harrison Barnes will get his second game as the new sixth man and will try to bring the extra energy and skill set to the court.
The Curry versus Paul battle will be very intriguing as both players will show their heightened skill level. Since the Warriors play the night before at home against the Los Angeles Lakers, the back-to-back for the Dubs will favor the Clips.
This game will be a hard-fought battle, but since it is being played in Los Angeles, the Clippers will prevail by a bucket. The Warriors will wait for the next opportunity to take back control of the rivalry.
The Golden State Warriors will look to avenge their second-round playoff loss to the San Antonio Spurs and win their first regular-season game in San Antonio since February, 1997. The Warriors finally won there in the playoffs and should have had the road sweep, but they wilted under the constant pressure at the end of Game 1.
The Warriors are a much deeper squad now, and the Spurs are another year older. Yes, the Spurs are a little bit slower, but the team is the defending Western Conference champion and knows how to execute better than anyone in the league.
Tim Duncan has always been a beast against the Dubs, but Kawhi Leonard is developing into their next new talent. Andre Iguodala will be given the task to shut Leonard down.
Klay Thompson will once again receive the duty of guarding Tony Parker, while Iguodala will also share that task at certain points. This game will go back and forth between lead changes, but the Warriors will walk out of AT&T Center with their first win this century.
This game is one of the first true tests against a top team in the Western Conference. If the Warriors can succeed on the road in this type of matchup, the team will gain confidence in the belief that they are building a championship team.
The Golden State Warriors get another home test against the Oklahoma City Thunder squad. The Thunder beat the Warriors three out of four tries last season, with the Warriors' only win coming on the Oracle Arena court.
The Thunder return the same starting five as last year, but they are lighter on the bench after seeing Kevin Martin move on to Minnesota during free-agency. The only remainder of the James Harden trade is shooting guard Jeremy Lamb.
The Warriors bench is significantly deeper than the Thunder, and the Warriors will probably have to use the deep bench to stay with the overly athletic Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. This game will show fans how improved the Dubs are on defense with the addition of Andre Iguodala.
The Warriors are significantly improved versus the squad that surprised the Thunder in Oakland last season, with the additions of Iggy, Marreese Speights and Jermaine O'Neal. I feel the Warriors can stop the Thunder enough on defense and use their offensive acumen to squeak out a victory in Oakland.
The Golden State Warriors face the Houston Rockets with the new addition of Dwight Howard in their second matchup within a week’s time. They play each other for the first time on Friday, December 6, so both teams will have a better understanding of how to attack each other.
The Rockets took advantage of the Warriors last season by blowing them out three times, before the Dubs picked up a win in their final matchup. Andrew Bogut should be healthy for this game and he should have another battle with Howard.
The Bogut versus Howard battle will whet the palate for the remaining pieces on the floor. However, it was David Lee that started the controversy with Howard when the Warriors beat the Los Angeles Lakers last season at Oracle.
The backcourt of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson will go up against Jeremy Lin and James Harden to make this a fun evening. Up-and-coming small forward Chandler Parsons will be marked by Andre Iguodala, and Iguodala should have the upper hand.
If the Warriors can play good perimeter defense, they should have the upper hand at home. I see the Warriors pulling away in the final quarter and winning by high single digits.
The Golden State Warriors make their return trip to the city where they completed their first-round upset against the Denver Nuggets. The Warriors now also have one of the key ingredients to last year’s Nuggets' squad, Andre Iguodala.
The Nuggets had a very regrettable offseason where they not only lost Iggy and Corey Brewer, but they also had to deal with the firing of coach George Karl, the loss of general manager Masai Ujiri and no standout activity within free agency. The Nuggets did add Randy Foye, J.J. Hickson and Nate Robinson to cover their losses, but the team led by monster Kenneth Faried is no longer looked upon as an up-and-coming contender.
Denver is still one of the most difficult venues to play in because of its altitude, but I think the return of Iguodala to play against his former team will spur the Warriors to a victory. Steph Curry, Thompson and even David Lee will get good looks and Andrew Bogut will wreak havoc again on both sides of the ball.
The Golden State Warriors return to the scene of one of their most exhilarating upsets when they face the back-to-back NBA Champion Miami Heat on the road. This time around, the Heat won’t take the Warriors for granted and will amp up their play.
LeBron James has matured into arguably the greatest player in today’s game and will be able to penetrate and defend against the Dubs. The other two parts to the equation, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, are still very good players, but they don’t bring the consistency every night.
The matchup between the two premier defenders in the Association, James and Andre Iguodala, should be the highlight of the evening. Both players will use their array of offensive tricks to see if they can penetrate and successfully score the ball.
Klay Thompson will try and work his defensive magic in slowing down Wade, leaving most of the opportunities to PG Mario Chalmers and PF Udonis Haslem. Steph Curry should fare well on the offensive side of the ball and will be sure to use his pick-and-roll partner David Lee for some easy buckets.
The Warriors will play the Heat tough and Miami will be returning from a four-game West Coast roadie to close out 2013. I think Iggy will be able to slow down James enough where the Dubs take advantage and don’t have to rely on Draymond Green’s last-second miracle.
Steph Curry makes his return appearance where he put himself on the map with a 54-point performance. He scored the majority of the points, but the Warriors also lost that game 109-105.
New York City is the biggest stage, where the city and the media never sleep. The New York Knicks also have a deeper roster to contend with this season.
The biggest benefit for the Warriors is that the Knicks play in Miami the night before and may be a little bit groggy after facing the World Champion Heat. The Knicks will bring a strong game, but I think they will be playing at an 85 percent level because of the back-to-back games.
I don’t expect Curry to go north of the half-century mark again, but he will score north of 30 points in the contest. David Lee will also succeed in a return trip to his old stomping grounds by scoring a 20-10 game.
The Knicks will still get the best of the Warriors because of the play of their frontcourt and the fact that the Warriors will be playing the third game out of their four-game East Coast road trip. It will be a tight game, but the Knicks will hold off the Dubs in a close one.