Circling Some “Under the Radar” Dates on the Warriors’ 2021-22 Schedule
Matchups Dub Nation Will Want to Highlight Next Season
The new NBA season is almost upon us, Dub Nation. Have you staked out which matchups you’ll plan some life events around?
The 2021-22 Warriors schedule was announced last week, and there is no shortage of storylines. Reignited rivalries, continuing duels from last season, and even showcasing some of the fresh new faces in the NBA… there are plenty of games to be excited for.
But besides our favorite classic rivalries and matchups (Christmas Day game at Phoenix, the Los Angeles teams, the reigning champs, the Nets’ visit to Chase Center), what are some of the other series of interest that Dub Nation may want to be a part of this next season? Take a peek at some of the more under-rated, but just as entertaining Warriors matchups this upcoming season.
Single game tickets, season memberships, mini-plans and group packages for these games and more are available on warriors.com and the Warriors Mobile App. And be prepared too as requirements for entry to events at Chase Center have changed as mandated by the San Francisco Department of Public Health.
The Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies battled it out several times through the end of the last season as both teams competed for their spots in the Play-In Tournament and subsequent Playoffs. While the Dubs fended off Memphis in the last game of the regular season to claim a more favorable spot in the tournament, a loss to the Lakers prompted another Warriors-Grizzlies matchup with the winner advancing to the postseason and loser’s season coming to an end. Unfortunately the Warriors fell 117-112 in overtime on May 21.
But the wait for a rematch and retribution will not be long as the Warriors take on the Grizzlies twice in the first three months of the regular season — Oct. 28 and Dec. 23 — with both games being hosted at Chase Center.
The Grizzlies enter this season with the same young, dynamic core of Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Dillon Brooks that Dub Nation saw last season, but they have some notable veteran additions, too. Through offseason trades Memphis acquired center Steven Adams and guard Rajon Rondo, along with other talented role players in Juancho Hernangomez, Jarret Culver and Daniel Oturu.
But the Warriors got their buckets against this Memphis squad last season.
Though he missed the first two games of the 2020-21 campaign against Memphis due to a tailbone contusion, Stephen Curry had the hot hand versus the Grizzlies. In their regular season finale, Curry dropped 46 points with nine splashes on the Western Conference foe to capture the season’s scoring title. And then he added a 39-point performance in the final round of the Play-In Tournament.
Also worth watching in this series will be Jordan Poole. His 22.0 points per game against Memphis in the regular season was his highest against any opponent last year. He followed that up with 19 points with three splashes in the final Play-In Tournament game.
Building on last season’s performance is on both team’s 2021-22 agenda, and both teams likely view the other as an obstacle to achieve that greater success.
Ready for the clash of MVPs? The Warriors tip off their regular season series against reigning honoree Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets with a rare home-away back-to-back set of games coming late in December. But awaiting Jokic will be two-time MVP and another top-honor finalist from last season in Stephen Curry.
Jokic is a three-time All-Star with 57 career triple-doubles across his first six seasons. And besides his multi-dimensional game that notched him 10.3 rebounds and 8.3 assists per contest, Jokic also finished as the NBA’s 10th highest scorer in the 2020-21 campaign with an average of 26.4 points per game.
However, Curry led the NBA in scoring last season with 32.0 points per contest, making it the second time in his career winning the scoring title. He was named NBA Western Player of the month two consecutive months (April and May, the first Warrior to earn the honor back-to-back months in franchise history), concluding the last month with at least 30 points in seven of his eight games, including 40-or-more points three times, the most of any player in May.
While Jokic came away with the MVP award over Curry, the Warriors won the season series 2-1 over the Nuggets, who finished 3rd in the Western Conference and fell to the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the NBA Playoffs last season.
These will also be the first Golden State-Denver matchups since the clubs met late last season on April 23. In that game, the Nuggets lost their star guard Jamal Murray to a season-ending ACL tear.
While there has been no official word on his return, Murray has posted updates on his rehab progress while doing light work in the gym as he prepares to come back this season.
With little turnover in Denver’s core it remains to be seen how this matchup plays out again.
The Warriors square off against the Sacramento Kings four times through the 2021-22 season, and will get a healthy dose of the dynamic backcourt that includes the speedy De’Aaron Fox, long-range bomber Buddy Hield, and last season’s rookie sensation Tyrese Haliburton. While the backcourt is strong as is, the Warriors already saw Sacramento’s newest addition in action during Summer League: NCAA Champion guard Davion Mitchell.
Mitchell had been tied to the Warriors as a draft target by "experts", but the Warriors ultimately chose Jonathan Kuminga with their seventh overall pick, and Mitchell went to Sacramento two picks later at No. 9. The “Summer Dubs” won Mitchell’s professional debut in the California Classic 89-82 in, but he shined on the court. The rookie was the game’s leading scorer with 23 points, while also being a proven pest who tallied three steals.
While the Warriors’ veterans do not have experience against Mitchell, there is one Dub who has faced the guard on the big stage: rookie Moses Moody. The two clashed in the round of eight in this past NCAA tournament with Moody and Mitchell holding each other to 11 and 12 points, respectively.
Though they did not meet in Summer League as Moody sat out the Warriors’ California Classic game against the Kings, he proved to be reliable from distance making 2.5 treys on 37 percent shooting from distance through the summer.
Moody’s shooting adds to a rivalry that included splash-fests in their 2020-21 matchups. The Warriors claimed victory in two of their three games, knocking down 54 buckets made from beyond the arc on a 48.6 percent clip.
These two teams are very familiar with each other, so enjoy the on-court show between the Northern California rivals.
The 2021-22 Detroit Pistons’ roster may not one filled with star power, buy they none the less have a talented and lengthy team. At the center of it all is the No. 1 overall pick from this summer’s NBA Draft: Cade Cunningham.
Cunningham is a 6-foot-8-inch guard who averaged 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.6 assists in his lone year at Oklahoma State, leaving as the Big 12 Player of the Year and a Consensus All-American. His output continued through Summer League as he averaged 18.7 points on 50% on his 26 3-point attempts, 5.7 rebounds and 1.7 steals.
The rookie joins veteran Pistons who are coming off career seasons. Forward Jerami Grant posted 22.3 points per game to go with 4.6 rebounds in his first season with the team, while guard Corey Joseph notched 12.0 points and 5.5 assists in 19 games after being traded to the club by the Sacramento Kings.
But speaking of career seasons, Andrew Wiggins is coming off one of his best in his seven years in the NBA with a new high of 38-percent shooting from beyond the arc for 18.6 points per game. He was also key to the Warriors going 2-0 over the Detroit Pistons last season.
Wiggins dropped 17 of his 27 points, including three 3-pointers, in the fourth quarter to lead the squad to a 116-106 victory on Dec. 29. Then on Jan. 30, he led the team with 14 points with two three-pointers through the first two quarters of the Warriors’ 116-106 win over Detroit; Wiggins finished that game with 20 points.
These two teams clash just twice this season, with the Warriors hosting Cunningham and the Pistons for their lone visit to Chase Center on Jan. 18, 2022.
While the Warriors do not face these Western Conference foes until the calendar turns to 2022, Dub Nation better be ready to see a lot of the Jazz as the two will face each other three times over the first five weeks of the new year.
The Jazz enter the 2021-22 campaign with their core of reigning Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert and 6th Man of the Year Jordan Clarkson along with two-time All-Star Donovan Mitchell and a familiar face, too.
Former Warrior and 2019-20 All-Rookie Honoree Eric Paschall joins his childhood best friend in Mitchell after being traded to the Jazz during the offseason.
Last season, the Warriors played well against the Jazz (51-21), who ultimately finished second in the conference, beating them in the final two matchups of the season series with a 131-119 win and a victory to tip off a back-to-back against them and the conference-winning Suns.
Curry was electric in those two matchups, posting 32 and 36 points in the contests, respectively. But those scoring outbursts came in very different fashions. The two-time MVP made six 3-pointers on a 67 percent shooting night from beyond the arc in the Mar. 14 game. While Curry was held to a 3-for-13 night from deep on May 10, he worked his way to the free throw line 12 times. He also followed the mantra of “shooters shoot” to splash the Warriors into a one-point lead with 13.4 seconds left in the contest despite his off-night from distance.
Curry is not the only one who can splash though. The Jazz finished last season with the most 3-pointers made (1,205) while making them at the fourth best rate in the NBA (38.9 percent), setting up some likely splash parties with the Dubs.
New York Knicks
Over the course of the last three seasons the New York Knicks have gone from having the worst record in the league (17-65) in 2018-19 to becoming a playoff team this past season. Momentum is on their side as the Knicks continue to build upon a core the Warriors went 1-1 against in last season’s two-game series.
The Warriors fell to this team on 119-104 on Jan. 21 when they were held to 38.4 percent shooting from the field. But the squad registered a 114-106 victory thanks to a 37-point outing from Stephen Curry, which including two game-winning plays in the final minute and a half, on Feb. 23.
While not an Eastern Conference team with All-Star cores like the Brooklyn Nets, the Knicks had the third best defensive rating while leading the league in opponent’s points allowed (104.7). They also have scoring punch as well.
Julius Randle and RJ Barrett, their frontcourt duo, had career seasons. Randle averaged 24.1 points, 10.2 rebounds and 6.0 assists for his first All-Star selection, while Randle took a step forward in his sophomore campaign with averages of 17.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists.
After resigning veteran guards Derrick Rose (14.9 points) and Alec Burks (12.7) to new contracts, the Knicks have retained their five leading scorers from last season, which include Randle, Barrett and Immanuel Quickly (11.4).
This matchup looks to be a solid measuring stick for the Warriors. Someone without the name “Curry” will need to find a way to contribute against the Knicks’ stout defense, and the Dubs will have their hands full with New York’s variety of scoring options.
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