By Marcus Thompson
Saturday, March 15th, 2008 at 9:40 am in Playoffs.
At Los Angeles Clippers
With the schedule facing them down the stretch, the Warriors can’t afford another slip up against inferior teams. So what they’re on the road. They need to win these games to keep ahead of Denver, or catch the Mavericks.
This great opportunity for the Warriors to do both.
Denver’s next three games: vs. Seattle and at Detroit and at Philadelphia. They’ll likely go 2-1 (though the Philly game is the second of a back-to-back; the Sixers are playing well and you know they’ll be hyped for Iverson’s return).
Dallas’ next three games: at Miami, vs. Boston, vs. Lakers. They could very well also go 2-1.
So the Ws only way to gain ground would be to go 3-0 against these lowly teams. Winning these three games, the Warriors could head into Friday’s game vs. Houston 3.5 games ahead of Denver (or more) and a game behind Dallas (or tied if the Lakers and Celtics handle business) with one fewer loss than the Mavericks.
This is the LAST significant break in the schedule. Their next games against sub-.500 teams are all surrounded by top-tier opponents. Not to mention, they have a four-game road trip that includes the Spurs, Mavericks and Hornets.
Remember, the Warriors play four of their last five games at home — three of those games come against Sacramento, LA Clippers and Seattle. If they can head into that stretch with a cushion over Denver, or holding the No. 6 seed, their playoff fate will be in their hands. But it all starts by winning these three games.