Warriors face true test as schedule toughens
OAKLAND — With Golden State off to its best start in franchise history, everyone is wondering: Can the Warriors keep this up?
The list of accolades, accomplishments and franchise records is a long one.
Golden State is on the longest active winning streak in the league (14), which is the longest winning streak in Warriors history and a part of the Warriors franchise best start of 19-2 — currently the best record in the NBA.
That’s not all. Golden State swept its long five-game road trip and have the best road winning streak in franchise history. Multiple players have had career nights in the infant season as well as Player of the Week honors being handed to Klay Thompson in the first week of the season, and Stephen Curry the second week.
The NBA also named Curry Western Conference Player of the Month for games played in October and November.
The Warriors’ only losses came against Western Conference teams, one on the tail-end of a road back-to-back against Phoenix and one against the NBA Champion Spurs.
But the Warriors have yet to be tested at a truly high level, and they’ve had games they just barely made it through. The most interesting and challenging matchups promise to be more telling than the first six weeks of the season, and they won’t be games the Warriors can win with just a fourth-quarter surge.
Warriors @ Grizzlies
Tuesday the Warriors will be in Memphis for their third game in four days on the road, just one day removed from a back-to-back. The Grizzlies (17-4, second in the West) are playing at their highest level ever and Marc Gasol‘s performance thus far has thrust him into MVP candidate conversations.
Thunder vs. Warriors
The Warriors will be back at home and already have a win against OKC in the books. But the Thunder that Golden State played in Oklahoma City on Nov. 23 are not the real Thunder.
Kevin Durant and Russel Westbrook are back with a vengeance and would relish in a victory at Oracle Arena. The Thunder will be be on Warriors ground Thursday and return again Jan. 5 for their final meeting of the season. Both of which will be must see Western Conference showdowns.
Warriors @ Clippers
Nobody wants to lose at home on Christmas Day. The Clippers, currently on a nine-game winning streak, will surely put up a fight during the nationally televised final game of the day.
The rivalry between these teams has grown and almost always promises drama and physicality, and after the Warriors trampled Los Angeles on Nov. 5, the Clippers will be looking to even the score.
Raptors vs. Warriors
The Raptors are another team that is off to its best start in franchise history and lead the Eastern Conference. Although Toronto is playing without Demar Derozan (torn tendon in left thigh/groin) they have plenty of other weapons and won’t back down easy.
Lou Williams and Kyle Lowry have both received Player of the Week nods from the NBA this season. This matchup will be a good test for both teams.
Cavaliers vs. Warriors
Anytime you take on the King, you better be ready. LeBron James and company — including the guy the Warriors passed on in the off season, Kevin Love — will be in the Bay to cap off a Golden State six-game home stand on Jan. 9.
After a rocky start, Cleveland has found a rhythm and is on an eight-game winning streak of their own and will be looking to take down Western teams to prove their strength.