Ten highs, lows from Warriors' turbulent regular season


When the Warriors ran through the first few days of January with a 29-7 record that was tops in the NBA, it became conceivable that the team most projected to finish in the middle of the Western Conference playoff pack could reach The Finals.

Stephen Curry was slumping and surely would recover. Draymond Green was leading the league’s No. 1 defense. Jordan Poole had emerged and clearly could get even better. Andrew Wiggins was having the best season of his career on offense and defense.

The NBA was on notice. The Warriors were rolling. Triple-lock the doors and scamper into the basement, because they were going to be downright terrifying once Klay Thompson was cleared.

What followed, for a variety of reasons, was all manner of turbulence. The Warriors were 24-22 over their final 46 games. It was, overall, a season of inconsistencies and irregularities that ended with some satisfaction.

Here is a look at 10 highs and lows on the road that ended with the clinching of the No. 3 overall seed on the last day of the regular season:

LOW: Blown lead vs. Grizzlies (Oct. 28)

After opening the season with four wins, the Warriors open an eight-game homestand against Memphis, taking a 19-point lead in the first half and leading by 10 late in the third quarter. At home, against a conference rival, they are outscored 35-22 over the final 13 minutes of regulation and overtime for their first loss of the season. Ouch.

HIGH: 26-point rout of Bulls (Nov. 12)

Salty after being dumped by Memphis, the Warriors take it out on their next seven opponents, beating each one by double digits – an average of 21.4 points – punctuated by a 119-93 thrashing of Chicago.

That seven-game stretch speaks to their resilience and the ability to generate energy inside Chase Center.

HIGH: Curry splashes into record books (Dec. 14)

Entering the season needing 142 3-pointers to surpass Ray Allen as the sport’s career leader, Curry accomplishes the feat on the big stage of Madison Square Garden, breaking the record with 7:32 left in the first quarter.

With his mother and father present, as well as Reggie Miller and Allen, it is the season’s most poignant moment.

HIGH: Back-to-back Holiday wins (Dec. 25/Jan. 1)

Christmas Day. Marquee game. On the road. The Warriors go into the Phoenix and take down the defending Western Conference champion Suns. Curry and Green celebrate in the hallway.

One week later, they go into Utah and drop the Jazz on New Year’s Day. The Warriors establish themselves as the team to beat in the West.

HIGH: Klay’s Return (Jan. 9)

They had waited 941 days for this moment. After undergoing surgery in 2019 to repair a torn left ACL and in 2020 to repair a torn right Achilles’ tendon, Thompson is announced with the starting lineup.

It’s Klay's Chase Center debut. The crowd is on its feet. Finally, at long last, the Warriors are whole once again.

LOW: Draymond’s departure (Jan. 9)

Seven seconds after tipoff in Klay’s return game, Green commits a take foul. Why? He wanted to take the court with Klay. Draymond in warmups felt tightness in his left calf that after an MRI test was diagnosed as related to a disc in his lower back. He would miss the nine weeks. The team’s spirit sags and its defense plunges.

LOW: Loss to Pacers B team (Jan. 20)

The Warriors endure several improbable losses in the second half of the season, and this tops the list. Indiana comes into Chase missing its four best players, stays close and takes the game into overtime. Warriors score seven points on 3-of-12 shooting in OT. A chill goes through the building. “I blame myself,” coach Steve Kerr says.

LOW: Curry sustains foot sprain (March 16)

On a four-game win streak, the confident Warriors face the hot Celtics. It goes poorly. The Warriors score 25 points in the first 19 minutes and trail by 10. It gets worse. Four minutes before halftime, Boston’s Marcus Smart crashes into Curry, who comes up limping. Foot sprain. Misses the rest of the regular season. Warriors go 6-6 in his absence.

HIGH: Sweeping the Heat (March 23)

The Warriors go into Miami without Curry, Green or Thompson and trail by 10 in the first six minutes. Predictable. Except they recover and spend the next 42 minutes outscoring the Heat by 20 points to take a 10-point win and earn 2-0 sweep of the season series over the best team in the Eastern Conference. Subs rule.

HIGH: All’s well that ends well (April 10)

The Warriors follow a disastrous 1-4 road trip with a home loss to the Suns. They are staring at the final five games with the real possibility of dropping from third to fourth in the West. They close the season with a five-game win streak against conference foes. They finish 53-29, beating nearly all preseason projections.

RELATED: What one word perfectly describes Warriors' regular season?

And now, their postseason status set, the Warriors wait, fingers crossed, hoping for the high that would come with Curry returning for Game 1 of the first-round playoff series against the Denver Nuggets.

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