Golden State Warriors: Predicting the Inevitable First Loss


The Golden State Warriors have yet to lose a game this season. Looking at their remaining schedule, at what point can we realistically expect them to finally lose a game?

Fresh off a road win against the Denver Nuggets last Sunday night, the Golden State Warriors extended their regular season win-loss record to 15-0, matching the best start to a season in NBA history and becoming the first defending champion to begin a season with 15 consecutive wins and no losses.

One more win will once again put Golden State’s name in the history books, making them the first team EVER to achieve such a feat; And if we’re being completely honest, 16-0 isn’t looking too difficult with the next Warriors game being at home against the Los Angeles Lakers, a team currently at the bottom of the Western Conference with a win-loss record of 2-11.

One could call it a trap game, sure, but the one day of rest Golden State receives before the Lakers game could prove rather timely in favor of the Warriors, so any logical person (a group that obviously excludes Lakers fans) should already have that marked up in the win column for GSW.

That being said, the one question regarding the Warriors remains: “When is this team finally going to take it’s first L?”

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We all know it’s inevitable. If you’re like me, you’ve scavenged through pages of statistical data and hours of recorded video on Golden State’s next opponents, trying to figure out the odds of the Warriors continuing their win streak.

The only thing that could have made this prediction more accurate is if I had access to the data gathered through the wearable technology Golden State uses to monitor player fatigue, which would have served as an indicator for when certain players probably would have been rested.

But moving on nevertheless….

Looking at the remaining schedule for Golden State, I state again for the record: the Warriors have more than just a solid chance at beating the Lakers. If their 2-11 record doesn’t speak for itself, then take into account the fact that the Lakers are among the lowest scoring teams in the NBA (98.2 points per game), and they’re ranked 27th in opponents’ points per game (105.4). That should say enough.

If that doesn’t do it for you, then consider how horrible the Lakers’ offense — ranked dead last in field goal percentage (41.3 percent) — will be when matched up against the Warriors’ defense — ranked 6th in opponents’ field goal percentage (42.7 percent). Sorry, but the odds are definitely not in your favor, Los Angeles.

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  • From there, the Dubs will have two days off before they head to face the Phoenix Suns on the road in the first game of yet another back-to-back series. At the current moment, the Suns are sitting warmly at 7-6 following a win over the New Orleans Pelicans. Prior to their matchup with the Warriors, they will have a road game against the San Antonio Spurs, followed by a return home to face the Pelicans on Wednesday. That gives them a day to rest before facing the Warriors.

    Now the Suns are one of those middle-of-the-pack teams that have started out solid thus far in the season, posting fairly average numbers. They don’t have the depth of a playoff team, but their starting five — and most notably, their starting backcourt — is rather potent and could give Golden State a little bit of trouble.

    Some numbers that stick out for Phoenix: they’re currently second in the league in rebounds per game (47.3) and three-point percentage (39.5). The latter particularly caught my eye, and it turns out that Brandon Knight currently leads the Suns in threes with 6.6 attempts and 2.7 made threes. Right behind him is his backcourt mate, Eric Bledsoe, who’s hitting just a shade under two three-pointers a game. Both Knight an Bledsoe have overall been superb for Phoenix, adding in nearly five rebounds and six assists each.

    On the bad side: Phoenix ranks among the lowest in assists per game (19.2) but among the highest in turnovers (16.8). If the Warriors can utilize their defensive intensity to take advantage of Phoenix’s high rate of mistakes and keep the Suns off the defensive glass, all the while holding Knight and Bledsoe to reasonable stat lines, then I believe you can chalk this up as another win for Golden State.

    On the back end of that back-to-back is my second favorite show in the NBA, the Sacramento Kings. At a regular season record of 5-9, I’m not sure what else can be said about the Kings that hasn’t already been said by general manager Vlade Divac and the always entertaining DeMarcus Cousins, so this really shouldn’t be a tough one. I’d add this to the trap game category, but having lost only two games last season at home, it’s unlikely the Warriors drop the ball on this one while at Oracle.

    After a day of rest, the Warriors begin the seven-game road trip I touched base on in the way-too-early-season-record-prediction piece I wrote up near the conclusion of this past offseason. They start with the Utah Jazz, who are 6-6 on the season, 2-1 at home.

    The Jazz will face a number of former playoff teams before the Warriors, including the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Memphis Grizzlies, and the New Orleans Pelicans before getting a couple days off prior to hosting the Warriors. The stats show the Jazz as being solid defensively, posting the 7th best number in opponent’s field goal percentage (42.8) right behind the Warriors.

    Utah has a slow style of play, recording the 2nd slowest pace in the NBA at 94.71 possessions a game; therefore, tempo will be the most important factor for the Warriors against the Jazz, as the Dubs will have the opportunity to run Utah right out of their own building. I admit I’ve grown rather fond of the Jazz as they’ve continued to build and develop, but I’m unsure how their centers will keep up with the Warriors offensively, or how they matchup with Golden State’s small ball squad, a.k.a. “The Death Lineup.”

    The Warriors will have a day before heading off to Charlotte to face the 7-6 Hornets, which I assume is a game Curry has been highly anticipating for quite some time. The Hornets will have to face the likes of the Kings, Washington Wizards, Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Milwaukee Bucks before the Warriors, and that’s a tough stretch to get through without it taking an extensive toll. Plus, the reigning MVP will likely want to show out in front of his friends and family, so there’s little reason to suggest why this shouldn’t be another tally mark in our mental win box.

    This brings us to the back-to-back road series that Monte Poole of Comcast SportsNet Bay Area believes may result in Golden State’s first loss: after two days of rest, the Warriors will travel to Toronto to face the Raptors, which will be followed by a visit to Brooklyn for another game against Jarrett Jack and the Nets.

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  • To be fair, the Warriors had no idea the Nets were going to shoot the lights out early on in the game, and I fully expect that NOT to occur again. If Jack and Thaddeus Young end up putting on an encore performance of their red hot shooting display against the Warriors at Barclays Center, then all the credit to them, but it’s hard to see that happening again, even with Golden State coming off a game in Toronto.

    Speaking of “The 6,” they have two All-Star level guards in Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan heading their backcourt, and it’s entirely plausible to think they’ll come out playing like they have something to prove after falling just a tad short against the best of the best. I mean who knows? Maybe next time they’re down a point, Lowry won’t commit two offensive fouls within a 10-second span, then drive in for a layup with his team down three and absent timeouts.

    As crazy as it may seem, I respectfully disagree with Poole — I do not believe the Warriors end their streak there. The Raptors certainly have the best chance of handing the Warriors their first loss out of any of those aforementioned teams, but I think the Warriors — after two days of rest — flip the switch at the start of that game and prove their recent win over the Raps wasn’t a fluke.

    After Brooklyn, the Warriors fly to Indiana to go against the Pacers, who are currently 8-5. They’ll have three days of rest before needing to host the Warriors after a semi-tough stretch of games, so that’ll certainly help even the playing field.

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    The key stat in this matchup: Indiana has thus far held opponents to the 5th lowest three-point percentage in the league (31.2). How the Pacers’ perimeter defense will affect the Warriors remains to be seen, but unless Paul George has one of those PG-13 games or Monta Ellis has a big scoring night, I don’t see the Pacers ending the streak either.

    The Warriors head off to the home of the Boston Celtics after that, now the home of former teammate, David Lee. The Celtics have a young core budding with potential, but I doubt their time to bloom will be anytime soon. They’ve established a great foundation defensively (96.6 defensive rating), and their fast paced offense (Pace: 101.55) has posted phenomenal numbers in the assist category (24.4, 4th highest in NBA), but I think their overall lack of experience will prove the difference when facing this dominating Warriors squad.

    Which finally leads us to the game I believe finally results in a loss for the Warriors: against the Bucks in Milwaukee on the back end of a back-to-back.

    The Warriors will be coming off a close game against a team that was able to run with them just the night before, and this is the last game of their road trip before heading back to Oakland for a five-game homestand. If the road trip doesn’t have a visible, taxing effect on the team by this time, then I will personally go in to congratulate the Warriors’ training staff on discovering the Fountain of Youth (previously discovered by the Phoenix Suns, which has several ties to this current Warriors organization…CONSPIRACY?!).

    While the Bucks are very last at rebounds per game (37.7) and pace (94.64), I believe they have the necessary tools that make them fully capable of playing with Golden State’s small ball lineup. Greg Monroe has had a bad reputation as a defender, but his offensive game is potent enough to draw the occasional double team.

    If that’s not your cup of tea, then replace him with John Henson and surround him with guys like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker, Khris Middleton and Michael Carter-Williams, and you have one of the lengthiest lineups in the league.

    The majority of the offense would be ran through guys like The Greek Freak and Parker, but I’d give them as good a chance as anyone against a Warriors squad playing on the back end of a back-to-back series that, in turn, is the last game on Golden State’s road trip.

    Mind you, this is ASSUMING the Warriors are human and will be suffering from the affects of bodily fatigue, possibly even resulting in Golden State resting their starters at that particular point of their road trip. The team could also rest the starters against the Nets in the middle of that road trip as well, or they could just chance it and bank on the team resting up in the three off days that follow the Bucks game.

    But let’s say the Warriors go 7-0 on their road trip. It’s definitely difficult to see happening, but realistically speaking, this team is simply unreal and not bound by the human laws that constrict us mere mortals. Every single time I doubt them, they seem to prove me wrong, so this is me being open for the impossible to happen.

    “They could do 72. They might do 73. I’m saying it’s there.” — Tim Kawakami, Mercury News 

    IF the Warriors end up going 7-0 on their road trip, then the team with the best chance of ending the Warriors’ win streak is the Cleveland Cavaliers, who face off against the Warriors in Oakland on Christmas Day. Even then, this is the big stage, so it would be folly to rule out the Warriors entirely against LeBron James; however, I think this game ends up being one of the two losses the Warriors suffer this season at home.

    On the bright side, the Warriors finally being defeated on Christmas Day would also mean the Warriors’ streak would stand at 28-0, a feat never before thought possible in the history of the league. This would also make the Warriors the team with the second-longest win streak in NBA history, a record previously held by the 2012-13 Miami Heat when they won 27 in a row on the backs of Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and King James.

    In addition, 28 games into the season without a loss would significantly increase the chances of the Warriors passing, or, at the very least, matching the 72-10 regular season record set by Michael Jordan and the 1996 Chicago Bulls. If we follow this regular season breakdown written by Mercury News sports columnist, Tim Kawakami, the Warriors reaching at least 70 wins this season seems entirely reachable barring any long-term injuries to guys like Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, or Andre Iguodala.

    So yes, the streak will come to an end one way or another, that much is certain; but whether by a raptor’s claws, a cavalier’s lance, or a buck’s antlers, I’d gladly welcome the Warriors going 73-9.

    In the meantime, Curry and company have their eyes set on a shorter term goal — the 1972 Lakers’ 33 straight wins. To match this, it would mean they’d have to go 7-0 on their road trip, 5-0 on the homestand that follows, win both games on a back-to-back that features the Dallas Mavericks and the Houston Rockets, then win their game against the Denver Nuggets the day after New Year’s. Curry spoke to CSN’s Monte Poole on the matter, saying the following:

    "“We want to get to 16 and counting and see how long we can keep this thing going,” said Curry, who on Monday picked up his second Player of the Week award for this season. “But that’s special. To have this record, maybe in a month, maybe we’ll be talking about 33. Who knows? That’s the other number that’s out there.”"

    Maybe, just maybe, the Warriors could get to 33-0. And if you’re doing the math, that’s over 40 percent of the season done without having lost a game. At that point, we need to stop talking about whether this team can reach 70 wins, and we need to start talking about what on earth is going to stop them from getting 80.

    All stats accurate as of Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015, per

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