The Golden State Warriors’ regular-season road to back-to-back titles and an unbelievable fifth championship in nine seasons has been revealed.
Two of their most high-profile games of on that journey—opening night against LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers and Christmas day versus Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies, both at Chase Center—were reported before Wednesday’s release of the full 82-game schedule.
Schedule just dropped, so we brought in some of our favorite analysts to break it down.@kpthrive || 2022-23 Schedule Release pic.twitter.com/ULSXxpQaTp
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) August 17, 2022
What other marquee matchups should Dub Nation circle on the regular-season calendar as 2022-23 fast approaches?
5 must-watch games on Warriors’ 2022-23 NBA schedule
October 21st, vs. Denver Nuggets
The Denver squad Golden State dispatched of with casual ease—despite Stephen Curry returning from an ankle injury by coming off the bench, remember—in the first round of the playoffs is much different from the one that will visit Chase Center 48 hours after the Warriors tipoff the regular season.
Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. will both be back from injury, making two-time defending MVP Nikola Jokic even more dangerous as an all-court scorer and playmaker. Denver did well over the summer surrounding that gaudy offensive trio with dogged perimeter defenders, bringing in Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Bruce Brown to help Aaron Gordon lift the Nuggets toward a top-10 defense.
The postseason is a different animal than October basketball, of course, and not just because Murray and Porter will likely be on minutes limits when Denver visits San Francisco for an early-season bout between title contenders. A true test of the Nuggets’ ability to hold up on defense won’t come until April, when quality opponents hone further in on exploiting rippling deficiencies presented by their three stars.
We can wait until then for a more telling appraisal of Denver’s title chances. Watching Golden State try to put out a uniquely flammable offensive attack led Jokic, Murray and Porter is appointment viewing regardless.
November 23rd, vs. LA Clippers
The Clippers have been flying under the championship radar since the moment Kawhi Leonard’s torn ACL was reported midway through the 2021 Western Conference Semifinals. But he and Paul George will be back and fully healthy in 2022-23, leading a team rife with accomplished, experienced, versatile veterans that some optimists believe is a preseason title favorite—not to mention one uniquely suited to matching up with Golden State.
LA’s championship bonafides rest most on its superstar wings and collective ability to shape shift across various lineups and two-way styles.
The Clippers are more equipped than ever to downsize for small-ball, surrounding Leonard and George with three players from a deep group of wings including Nicolas Batum, Robert Covington, Marcus Morris, Norman Powell and Terance Mann. Their longstanding lack of high-level playmaking and consistent rim pressure will be mitigated by the presence of John Wall, too.
Health provided, LA will be a threat to win it all this season no matter how Ty Lue decides to play on a game-by-game or possession-by-possession basis. The effectiveness of that flexibility against the reigning champs on November 23rd could be very instructive for a potential playoff matchup the entire basketball world wants to see.
December 16th, at Philadelphia 76ers
Daryl Morey deserves immense praise for overhauling Philadelphia’s roster this summer with a series of smaller moves that drastically upped his team’s championship odds.
P.J. Tucker, De’Anthony Melton and Danuel House will afford the Sixers some much-needed defensive dynamism in 2022-23, surely juicing their opponent’s turnover rate while allowing for additional stylistic versatility—more important against Golden State than any team in the league. Even so, just as intriguing about Philadelphia’s offseason is the apparent transformation of James Harden.
With a far superior supporting cast and former league MVP amped to prove he’s still among basketball’s top playmakers, could this season represent Joel Embiid’s most realistic hopes of hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy ? It certainly seems that way, and there won’t be a better barometer of Philly’s newfound defensive mettle and Harden’s supposed rejuvenation than a bout with the Warriors.
January 19th, at Boston Celtics
Boston was the best team in basketball after the New Year last season, and it’s easy to forget held a 2-1 lead over Golden State in the Finals before Curry’s Game 4 masterpiece changed the series for good. There’s every reason to believe the Celtics will be improved in 2022-23, too.
The trade for Malcolm Brogdon gives Ime Udoka another big, malleable guard to function in Boston’s elite switch-heavy defense. He’s also more consistent on the other than Derrick White, whose wholesale offensive struggles played a major part in his team crumbling over the second half of the Finals.
Don’t sleep on Danilo Gallinari, either. He’s not a 16-game player at this stage of his career, but could swing a pivotal postseason game or two by feasting on bench units when superstar ball handlers are off the floor.
But those ancillary additions aren’t what’s poised to vault Boston up yet another level this season. Internal growth from Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Robert Williams III most account for that possibility, and the specter of a trade for Kevin Durant looms.
Would the Celtics actually be better off with the two-time Finals MVP instead of Brown and Marcus Smart? If Boston really is considering moving an All-Star wing approaching his prime and the reigning Defensive Player of the Year for Durant, it’ll surely have happened by mid-January, setting the stage for an epic Finals rematch at TD Garden.
February 1st, at Minnesota Timberwolves
No playoff team altered its identity more than Minnesota during the offseason, and no foe will prove a better test of its two-way viability against top-flight competition than Golden State.
How will Chris Finch and the rebuilt Timberwolves react defensively when Steve Kerr slides Draymond Green down to center, coaxing Rudy Gobert from the paint and forcing Karl-Anthony Towns to defend in space?
Will they stay big, switching across five positions in hopes that pairing two seven-footers will dissuade penetration and own the offensive glass? Or will Minnesota put one of their star bigs on the bench, taking more optimal advantage of Gobert’s highly underrated switch defense or Towns’ ability to mash smaller players on the other end with five-out spacing?
Anthony Edwards’ role in that fraught decision-making process is probably more significant for both the Wolves’ chances in 2022-23 and longterm championship aspirations. If Minnesota gets stuck in the mud offensively or can’t keep up with the downsized Warriors on the other side of the ball, it’ll cause widespread consternation about a blockbuster trade and resulting roster identity that many doubted from the beginning.