The Golden State Warriors returned to full health on Monday and delivered a resounding 116-102 win over the Chicago Bulls. Superstar Steph Curry made a successful return to the court, posting 32 points, five rebounds, and six assists on 11-24 shooting, 6-14 from three, and 4-5 from the line. This marks the Warriors’ 23rd win of the season and keeps them in the hunt for the playoffs.
Golden State Poised to Make Late-season Surge, Steph Curry Returns
Curry missed five games after injuring his tailbone in the win over the Houston Rockets. In his absence, Golden State went 1-4 with their sole win coming against the Memphis Grizzlies. Curry’s mere presence opens the floor for the Warriors who look stuck in mud when he’s not on the floor. Star forward Draymond Green is a defensive menace but his offensive deficiencies are exacerbated when his superstar teammate is absent.
While the Warriors aren’t the dominant force of yesteryear in 2020-21, Golden State’s schedule has been one of the toughest thus far. They have played 30 games versus teams over .500 (10-20) but just 17 games against teams below .500 (13-4 record). If you dig deep in the schedule, Golden State ranks 27th in schedule difficulty and will play 16 teams below .500 down the stretch.
The Golden State Warriors have the 27th most difficult schedule remaining and will play 16 sub.500 teams in their final 25 games
GS plays 8 games vs teams below them in the West:
3 vs Oklahoma City
2 vs New Orleans
2 vs Houston
1 vs Minnesota
Set to make a run down the stretch pic.twitter.com/enVdlPJk3A
— OKC YOUNG GUNS (@geola388) March 30, 2021
Golden State isn’t a great team overall but Curry’s greatness alone will push them towards wins especially against bottom feeders. The Western Conference standings are compact with only five games separating the fourth-placed Los Angeles Lakers and 10th-place Warriors. The Lakers are missing franchise centerpieces LeBron James and Anthony Davis so one suspects their decline down the standings will continue until they return.
What will the Golden State Warriors do?
There has been much conjecture regarding the direction the Warriors are taking, flip-flopping between competing this season or tanking for next year’s draft. They traded away Brad Wanamaker at the deadline to open minutes for second-round pick Nico Mannion. Additionally, they have also expressed a desire to play No. 2 overall pick James Wiseman big minutes. Like all big men, Wiseman has shown flashes of excellence but has struggled with consistency.
To further complicate things, the Warriors 2021 pick is committed to Oklahoma City after the Kelly Oubre trade (top-20 protected). As it stands, the Warriors will keep its pick and the Thunder will receive a second-round selection (via Minnesota). However, there is a good chance Golden State shoot up the standings thanks to its remaining schedule. Given how compact the standings are, the Warriors could move up should they put a run together.
It’s difficult to believe Curry and Green will allow the front office to lose games on purpose, thus it will be an interesting final six weeks.
Curry’s greatness will propel the Warriors to a lot of wins down the stretch. With all things being equal, I believe they will win around 13 or 15 of their final 25 games to move up the standings. Steph Curry is an absolute stud and continues to show why he is one of the greatest players to grace the court. Couple this with Green’s competitive nature, it’s easy to see the Warriors putting together multiple runs of four wins or more.
It’s not in the best interest of the Warriors’ future but players are paid to play. They will do just that.
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