The Warriors seemed set to continue their recent slide on Saturday, as they trailed by 14 in the first quarter of their game against the Bucks. Then, Stephen Curry started doing Steph Curry things, and Golden State won in a landslide. Wins for the Warriors haven’t been as common as usual- with Kevin Durant‘s injury, they’ve found themselves in a bit of a funk. A disappointing three game losing streak had some wondering if Golden State’s title hopes were still intact, but the Dubs responded with a three game winning streak, defeating the Sixers, Magic, and now the Bucks. A win against Milwaukee is a good start, but the Warriors will be facing stiffer competition than a sub .500 team barely clinging to a playoff spot.
In the next two weeks, the Warriors will face the Thunder, the Spurs, the Grizzlies, the Wizards, and will play the Rockets twice. Each of these teams have playoff aspirations and could surely derail Golden State’s path to the number one seed. With only 13 games left to play this season, Golden State has very little room for error if they want to keep the top spot in the West. If the Warriors can escape this brutal stretch of games without too many losses, they should be able to hold on to the West’s one seed. However, the Spurs are still breathing down the Warriors’ neck at only 2 games back, and could take over the top spot should the Warriors falter.
Not only will these few weeks determine the Warriors’ playoff position, it will show whether or not they have regained their chemistry. Durant’s injury has not only robbed Golden State of its best player, it has also affected the delicate rapport the Warriors developed over the course of their season. Curry has stepped back into his role as the club’s leading scorer, as evidenced by his barrage of six three pointers against Milwaukee. However, Curry has gone through multiple slumps this season, and its plausible he falls into another rut.
Fatigue could also be another possible consequence of this six game swing. If Coach Kerr decides to play his starters to retain the number one seed, Golden State could enter the playoffs drained from their final regular season games. The Warriors have had this problem before- last year’s collapse in the finals was often attributed to a lack of rest while Golden State chased the regular season wins record. Kerr could risk losing the one seed if he rests his starters, but either fatigue or injuries could prove detrimental to the Warriors’ title hopes.
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