NBA Golden State Warriors 2011: 10 Can't-Miss Games on Next Season's Schedule
The Golden State Warriors ended the 2010-11 season on a high note with some promising wins over some of the best teams in the league, including a 99-92 victory over the eventual NBA champion Dallas Mavericks.
After a productive offseason which netted Jerry West as a team advisor and several promising rookies including first-round draft pick Klay Thompson, the immediate outlook for the team looks bright.
There is a lot of uncertainty as to whether or not there will even be an NBA season, but if the situation is resolved, the Warriors' season will play out as detailed in this article from the Oakland Tribune.
Will the 2011-12 season be another exercise in futility for the team, or will the Warriors be able to translate last season's momentum into a playoff run? Only time will tell.
The following is a list of the top ten can't miss games coming up this season for the Golden State Warriors, including games that will be shown on major television networks.
Wednesday, November 2: L.A. Lakers, 7:30 PM, ESPN
If a new CBA can be reached in time to start the 2011-12 season as scheduled, the Golden State Warriors will open with a classic matchup with their longtime Southern California rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers.
This is a great starting point for the Warriors to open at home, against arguably the best team in the Western Conference. Recent history suggests that this is a lopsided matchup in the Lakers' favor.
But with the offseason improvements made to the Warriors roster and the Lakers massive collapse to end last season, it may be a much closer matchup this year.
Look for rookie guard Klay Thompson to get some big minutes right off the bat, and receive his "trial by fire" initiation into the NBA by guarding future Hall-of-Famer Kobe Bryant for stretches.
Friday, November 4: Sacramento, 7:30 PM
Interestingly enough, the Dubs will open the season with back-to-back games against their two biggest California rivals, the Lakers and the Kings.
The Kings were one of the worst teams in the league last season, but they will be looking to turn things around and re-establish their fanbase in Sacramento if the season goes as planned.
Jimmer Fredette is always an exciting player to watch, and you can bet that the basketball-savvy Bay Area fans will be turning out in force to watch if he will sink or swim as an NBA player. Fredette will be trying to quiet his doubters early in the season while forming a dynamic backcourt with third-year star Tyreke Evans.
This is a great backcourt duel between two of the more exciting young duos in the league, matching Curry and Ellis vs. Fredette and Evans.
Monday, November 14: At Dallas, 5:30 PM
One point that Warriors fans always come back to in any argument about the Warriors' playoffs hopes is the team's dominating first round upset in 2007 against the Dallas Mavericks.
There's no doubt that the two teams have both undergone drastic makeovers since that time, though. Baron Davis, Stephen Jackson, and most of those games that helped make that upset possible are long gone.
If the Warriors can make it a close contest or even pull out an upset win against Dirk and the reigning NBA champs, then they will have set the tone for a very promising 2011-12 season.
Wednedsay, November 23: At Minnesota, 5 PM
Minnesota is another fast-rising young team in the NBA. Last year, first-year All Star Kevin Love and forward Michael Beasley combined to form one of the more promising frontcourts in the league.
This year, the highly anticipated additions of Spanish import Ricky Rubio and second overall draft choice Derrick Williams add to the hype surrounding the Timberwolves coming into the season.
At the power forward position we have an intriguing matchup between two similarly skilled rebounding machines in Kevin Love and the Warriors' David Lee.
Can Ricky Rubio translate his pass-first, European style game to the NBA, or will he be an overhyped bust due to his lack of a reliable jump shot? Basketball fans should tune in to find out.
Wedesday, November 30: Oklahoma City, 7:30 PM, NBA TV
With a deep playoff run under their belts from last season, watch out for Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder as they are likely to come out as hungry to win a championship as any team in the NBA this season.
It seems that the Thunder have found the blueprint for playoff success, as they have experienced a meteoric rise from a losing team to potential championship contenders in only a few years time.
This will be as true a test as any to see if the Warriors have made the necessary changes that will allow them match up with the elite teams in the West.
Kevin Durant averaged 32 PPG on 51% shooting in three games against them last year, so the Warriors are going to have to find a way to lock up last year's scoring champ if they want come out of this contest victorious.
Wednesday, December 28: New York, 7:30 PM
This will be a high-scoring affair between two young, exciting teams with playoff aspirations.
A great East vs. West matchup that also features two of the NBA's brightest young stars in Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire.
The jury is still out on the big trade last year in which the Knicks gutted their roster just for the chance to snag Melo. It remains to be seen if he can co-exist with New York's other go-to guy, Amare Stoudemire.
Stoudemire lit up the Warriors for 30 PPG and 10 RPG in two contests last year on a shocking 70% shooting percentage, so it's clear that Golden State has to try a different strategy when it comes to guarding him.
Tuesday, January 10: Miami, 7:30 PM
Always one of the biggest draws at any NBA arena or prime time television for serious basketball fans and casual observers alike.
Hate them or love them, Miami's "Big 3" trio of superstars is always a must-see when they come into town. When focused, they are one of the most dominating teams in the NBA in terms of sheer talent.
Last season the Warriors suffered a demoralizing 20-point home loss at the hands of the Heat, but hopefully the Warriors can put the brakes on Miami's potent fast-break and find a way to break the seal on their stifling defense.
If not, at least the fans will get a spectacular aerial highlight reel courtesy of LeBron James and Co.
Thursday, January 12: Orlando, 7:30 PM, TNT
One of the Warriors most exciting victories last season was against the Orlando Magic, a 123-120 thriller that featured a brilliant performance by team star Monta Ellis.
Ellis finished with an electric performance, totalling 39 points on 7-9 shooting from three point shooting range.
Orlando's lone superstar Dwight Howard finished with only 13 points but had a monstrous 21 boards in that same contest.
If Golden State can figure out a way to get Howard in foul trouble early and make him a non-factor, look for them to make it a lopsided contest against Orlando's weak backcourt.
Saturday, November 12: At Houston, 5:00 PM
This is going to be an epic battle between two of the most electric scorers at the shooting guard position in the NBA, pitting Ellis versus Kevin Martin.
Monta Ellis absolutely torched the Rockets last year at home, with season-highs of 46 and 44 points in the two games at Oracle, yet strangely scored only 15 points in each of the away contests in Houston.
Martin displayed similar dominance on the offensive end, with 29.3 PPG in those four games on 52% shooting from three point range.
These games will have an All-Star Game feel to them as the premium will be on ringing up the scoreboard, not playing defense.
Wednesday, April 18: LA Clippers, 7:30 PM, ESPN
Fittingly, the Warriors should finish out the regular season against the L.A. Clippers, another young team from the Pacific Division that is trying to end their losing ways and earn a ticket to the playoffs.
They feature one of the league's most exciting young cores in Blake Griffin and Eric Gordon. Look for Griffin to throw down at least two spectacular dunks and to show off his superior athleticism.
If Mark Jackson's guarantee rings true, then the Warriors will likely be battling for a higher postseason berth at this point instead of finishing yet another disappointing season, bound for the lottery.