When will Warriors suffer first loss as long homestand awaits? originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
The Warriors open up an eight-game homestand on Thursday as they host the Memphis Grizzlies — a rematch of the play-in game that ended the Warriors’ season just a few months ago.
According to Andrew Wiggins, this is giving the Warriors a touch more motivation for Thursday night’s game.
“It was an important game that we lost to them,” Wiggings said at shootaround Thursday morning. “We have to build on that, keep moving forward and let them know we are not the same team we were last year.”
Wiggins is right: the Warriors are not the same team. They are far better. They are one of only two undefeated teams remaining in the NBA, and with this homestand, the Warriors have a chance to build on that strong start.
My prediction is that the Warriors will go 5-3 during this stretch, bringing their overall record to 10-3 by the time they head out on the road in a few weeks.
Their schedule during this homestand is highly favorable. Only two teams entering Chase Center in the next two weeks were a playoff team last season, one of which was the Grizzlies. So, the Warriors should be able to take care of business. However, there are four teams I see as presenting problems for the Warriors. While they won’t lose to all four of those teams, they’ll drop a few. Here are the games I have circled as possible losses:
Memphis Grizzlies on Oct. 27
The play-in game against the Grizzlies came down to the wire, and the Warriors definitely played a hand in them losing that game. But, that can’t take away from the fact that the Grizzlies are a good team with a very good player in Ja Morant.
Through the first games of the season, Morant is leading the league in scoring with 30.5 points per game on 55.8 percent field goal shooting and 45.8 percent from three. Sure, that’s a small sample size, but it shows how hot he’s entered this season. The Grizzlies are 2-2 after a bad loss to Portland and will be playing on the tail end of a back-to-back in San Francisco, but they can’t be slept on.
Charlotte Hornets on Nov. 3
The Hornets have a lot going for them right now.
LaMelo Ball not only has incredible playmaking skills but also is becoming a reliable scorer and shooter. Miles Bridges has scored 30-plus points three times so far this season. Gordan Hayward provides them with a veteran presence. And they had a strong draft this summer.
To me, this has “trap game” written all over it. There is a picture painted on people’s heads of who the Hornets are, but it is highly inaccurate. This team is good, and cannot be overlooked.
Maybe the groove Charlotte found last season before Ball and Hayward got injured is enough to remind some that this team has legitimate pieces to be competitive, but if not, they’ll sneak up on you.
Atlanta Hawks on Nov. 8
The Grizzlies were one of the Warriors’ upcoming opponents to make the playoffs last year, and the Hawks are the other. And boy, did they make some noise in the playoffs.
Trae Young has had a good start to his season, and the Hawks (4-1) have a good strong supporting cast and a deep bench. The Warriors will be on the second night of a back-to-back when Atlanta comes to town, so if they are caught sleeping early on, it could be hard to fight their way back in.
Chicago Bulls on Nov. 12
As of November 28, the Bulls and the Warriors are the only two undefeated teams in the NBA, both standing with 4-0 records. This is the best start the Bulls have had since the 1996-97 season.
Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso and DeMar DeRozan have adjusted quickly to their new team, which Zach LaVine has remained the steady leader of the ship.
The Bulls have a hefty schedule between now and when they face the Warriors, so their record might look very different from what it is now. But, it cannot be ignored that this is not the same Chicago team that has struggled to make any noise the past few years. The Warriors must respect that or they could surprise them.