Warriors have chance to start strong after sweeping Lakers, Clippers

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After LA sweep, Warriors have chance to start strong originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Starting the regular season off on a strong note was a must for Golden State.

Much of the conversation surrounding the Warriors thus far has been about what they will be able to accomplish once James Wiseman and Klay Thompson return, but that won’t be for a few more months and we don’t know what those two will look like when they do. 

So until then, the Warriors must hold their own. Through their first two games against both teams from Los Angeles, they have. And looking at the schedule for the upcoming two weeks, there is no apparent reason the Warriors shouldn’t get off to a roaring start. 

Heading into opening week, the outlook was that if the Warriors could at least split their games against the Lakers and Clippers, that would be considered a success. Well, Golden State managed to go 2-0 — a feat they haven’t accomplished for the last two years. 

Sure, the Lakers are still figuring out how to integrate all of the household names that now live on their roster, and the Clippers are adjusting to life without Kawhi Leonard. But, these are the two toughest matchups Golden State has scheduled in the first few weeks of the season,  and the Warriors weren’t handed either of their wins. They took them, and proved that even without Thomspon, they need to be considered the real deal. 

Against the Lakers, Golden State opened up ice cold. They looked uncomfortable on the court alongside Los Angeles’ lineup of giants. But as the game went on, they found their rhythm and shots — led by Jordan Poole — and finally took control of the game with four minutes left. 

It was a similar story against the Clippers. Steph Curry opened up red hot, but no one could buy a bucket in the second or third quarter, and the Warriors committed turnover after turnover. But once again: the fourth was their saving grace. 

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Last season, the Warriors would have lost both of these games. But this week, they displayed a new toughness, determination and overall improvement. They have better depth, better talent and a better understanding of how to play together.

Looking ahead to the next two weeks, the Warriors will drive 90 minutes over to Sacramento on Sunday before hopping on a flight to Oklahoma City. Then, the Warriors host Memphis, the Thunder, Charlotte and New Orleans — a slate of winnable games. 

The Warriors cannot overlook these teams. As much fight as they showed on opening week, there is still a lot for Golden State to clean up. If they relax too much of make as many lackadaisical moves as they did against the Clippers, they may pay for it, especially teams such as the Kings and Hornets.

That being said, the Warriors have a clear opportunity to start the season with an incredibly strong record. These kinds of games are going to be crucial for Golden State as they wait for their roster to be 100 percent healthy, and even after that. 

Following the next two weeks, the Warriors face their toughest stretch of the season. So heading into that span, the Warriors need to give themselves as much of a cushion as possible, while also setting the tone for who they are as a team for the season. 

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