Expectations shape reality, but for the Warriors, a new reality needs to shift their expectations.
The Baby Dubs — namely Jordan Poole and Jonathan Kuminga — have thrived since the Warriors’ Christmas Day win over the Grizzlies, the first game of the team’s eight-game home stand. Following that win over Memphis with strong performances in the clutch against the Hornets, Jazz, and the Blazers have given the Warriors their first four-game winning streak this season.
For a team whose only intention with Steph Curry injured and out of the lineup was to keep its head above water — to win as many as it loses — this home stand is already a success.
But this is also a team that has found a new gear this past week, without Curry or do-it-all forward Andrew Wiggins.
It’s time for the Dubs to be greedy.
Why not treat this homestand the way it was initially meant to be treated?
The Warriors could have circled this eight-game, two-and-a-half-week stretch in the Bay on the team’s schedule before the season started.
Weeks without travel, against weaker opponents — this was an opportunity to build up some wins; to make moves in a crowded Western Conference standings.
The absence of Curry and Andrew Wiggins could have changed that.
And when you consider how the Warriors entered this home stand — coming off losing five of six on the road, the last two games being embarrassing blowout losses to the Knicks and Nets, this is a jarring shift.
But it’s no fluke.
“The team has started to take shape with guys out,” Warriors coach Kerr said. “We’re winning games, but also setting the table for what’s to come when, hopefully, everyone’s healthy.”
Yes, big-picture, the Warriors’ great play as late is encouraging. The title hopes seem revived.
But let’s apply some short-term thinking: Why should the winning stop now? Why not make the run up the Western Conference standings over the next week-plus?
There’s no clear timeframe on Curry’s return, but whether he’s back by the time the Warriors go on the road again or he needs a bit more time, there’s no reason to think the Warriors can’t win their four games. Not with the way they’ve been playing lately. Not with the way they play at home.
Say what you will about the atmosphere at Chase Center, but the Warriors seem to love it — Golden State has the best home record in the NBA this season.
The Warriors also have three bad teams coming into the team’s glass fortress over the next week. Atlanta, Detroit, and Orlando have a combined record of 40-72 as of Sunday.
The Warriors will, of course, be favored in all three games.
It doesn’t hurt that Wiggins, who has missed a month with an adductor strain and an illness, is expected to return to the Warriors’ lineup for Monday’s game. Just another weapon for a team that is showing it has as many as any team in the NBA — even without its top weapon.
There’s little excuse for the Warriors not extending their winning streak. The Dubs should take care of business, especially at home.
That leaves one game on the homestand.
I don’t know if the Warriors will be favored against the Suns on Jan. 10. The Suns are without Devin Booker, and were blown out by the Wizards this past week, so that helps the Warriors’ case.
Regardless, it’s a winnable game for the Dubs.
They’re all winnable these days with how Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Poole, and Kuminga have played.
A perfect home stand is hardly a ridiculous notion. The Dubs are halfway there. What a statement that would make.
Yes, this team struggled to start the season, but if the Warriors can keep their current form for the final four games of this home stand, it would tell the NBA that those struggles are over.
And then the Warriors can take strong play to a whole other level.
Because once this team hits the road following the Jan. 10 game, they might have that ultimate weapon, Curry, back on the court.
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