Challenges Faced by the Golden State Warriors in Their Upcoming Schedule

Last season, the Golden State Warriors struggled to gather momentum throughout the regular season. A poor road record was one of the main reasons for this.

This season, the champions have an early-season gauntlet of road games that could test their championship credentials. Here are the challenges that lie ahead for the Golden State Warriors.

1. Golden State Travels to Los Angeles

Last season the Warriors started slowly and found themselves fighting for their playoff lives in November and December with a slew of disappointing losses to lottery-bound teams including the Hornets, Pistons and Pelicans. Getting off to a strong start in 2022-23 is imperative, as the team looks to avoid a repeat of last year’s early struggles and prove they can close out games efficiently.

The Warriors open the regular season with three back-to-backs, all of which are on the road and come against opponents that didn’t make the playoffs last year. This isn’t a recipe for disaster, but it will be an early litmus test to see whether the Warriors can adjust to the new reality of an 82-game schedule.

They’ll then host the 76ers and Clippers in their next two home games before embarking on their longest homestand of the season, with 10 out of 11 games at Chase Center from December 19 to January 10. Their first trip out of California will be to Denver for a Christmas Day matchup against the defending champs.

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2. Golden State Travels to Houston

After a slow start last season that saw them lose five-straight games on the road, the Warriors went on to win three straight. It was a turnaround that largely came down to the play of their veteran core. But the Warriors can’t afford to make any similar mistakes this year if they hope to retain their title defense.

That starts in December when Golden State plays 14 of its first 22 games on the road, including a five-game trip in which the Warriors will face a trio of lottery-bound teams. Then the schedule gets tougher in January, with a seven-game stretch that includes a trip to altitude to play the defending champion Denver Nuggets. And then the Warriors will begin April with a four-game road trip against playoff teams from each of the past two seasons. It could be a test of the team’s resiliency as it tries to get back to the top of the West.

3. Golden State Travels to New Orleans

After a brief break for the NBA Cup quarter-finals, semifinals and finals (Dec 2-12), Golden State opens its second month with 10 of their next 11 games at home. This includes a Christmas Day showdown with the Denver Nuggets, who pushed the Warriors to seven games in last year’s Western Conference first-round playoff series.

The Warriors’ recurring issues with giving up late-game leads were an issue last season, and it’s something they must address once again. Luckily, the Warriors’ veteran core — including Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Kevon Looney — has experience smelling blood in the postseason.

The Warriors’ longest back-to-back set of the season comes in late January, with a visit to New Orleans and a game against the Sacramento Kings. The two teams met twice last season, with the Warriors winning both matchups. The meeting with the Pelicans will also be a chance to see how well ballyhooed rookie Victor Wembanyama has developed.

4. Golden State Travels to Memphis

If the Warriors are going to reclaim their championship legacy, they’ll need to improve their road game. In the past two seasons, they’ve been put to the test on hostile courts in Los Angeles and Houston, overcoming adversity along the way.

That resiliency will be tested early on in this visit to Memphis, a place that doesn’t play well for the Dubs. This game also kicks off a five-game, nationally televised trip that includes stops in Sacramento and Cleveland.

The Grizzlies will be fighting for their playoff lives and the second seed in the West when they meet Golden State, who represents a new era of basketball. They operate largely from the perimeter, relying on speed and ball movement to conduct a free-flowing symphony for spectators. That style can be unnerving for teams that haven’t adapted, like Memphis, who has a roster led by seasoned veterans but is struggling this season.

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