Here are the 13 rules for beating the Warriors based on our rigorous analytic modeling.
1. Do not be elite.
The Warriors have lost to the Bucks, Pistons, Trail Blazers, Nuggets and Mavericks. Those teams are a combined 142-156 (.477) this season. Meanwhile, Golden State is heretofore 10-0 against the Spurs, Cavaliers, Thunder, Raptors and Clippers. If you want to beat the Warriors, you clearly need to be a lottery team or in the lower half of your conference's playoff bracket at best.*
* The Blazers might actually be elite, which complicates this rule.
2. Catch them a day after a double-OT game at the end of the long road trip.
Milwaukee ended Golden State's wild season-opening win streak by catching them in the second game of a back-to-back in which the first game (against Boston) went to double-overtime. It was the Warriors' seventh road game in a row; they'd been away from home for two weeks. Pretty good strategy from the Bucks, in my opinion.
3. Try to face them when Stephen Curry is out.
He's pretty good, and it's rather hard to beat the Warriors when he plays. You stand a better chance if you play against them when Curry is not playing, like the Mavericks did.
4. Try to face them when Draymond Green is out.
This worked for the Nuggets! Perhaps it can work for other teams as well. However, a big part of that Denver victory was the fact that Jason Thompson started for the Warriors in Green's place. Thompson has since been waived by Golden State, so teams cannot count on that allowance in the future. Still, facing Marreese Speights instead of Draymond Green is a net positive, so hope for the best.
5. Hope every non-Steph Warrior has a bad shooting night and that Draymond flips out on his teammates and coach.
Almost worked for the Thunder. Almost.
6. Don't let them within striking distance.
Four of Golden State's five losses have been blowouts. Only the Nuggets beat them in a close game. In fact, the Warriors are 10-1 in games decided by five points or fewer. Blow them out or don't even bother.
7. Be the 1993-94 Suns, 1995-96 Bulls, 2006-07 Warriors or a 1950s-era team.
Note: this may require a time machine, which is not technically impossible according to the laws of physics.
8. Do not play them in Oakland.
The Warriors have won all 24 of their home games this season, and 42 straight at Oracle overall. They are two wins from tying the NBA record for the longest home winning streak. If you want to beat the Warriors, you'd best not play them in their gym.
9. Shoot for a Wednesday or Saturday game.
Four of the Warriors' five losses have come on these two days. Golden State is 10-2 on Wednesdays, 11-2 on Saturdays and 32-1 on every other day of the week.
10. Do not face them on national television.
None of the Warriors' five losses have been broadcast on ABC, TNT or ESPN. Golden State is 18-0 on national TV. (NBA TV does not count as national TV for these purposes.)
11. Avoid playing them immediately after a basketball legend or Cedric Ceballos disparages them.
The Warriors do not like to be criticized, and they tend to take such criticism out on their opponents.
12. Wait until 2022.*
Our calculations indicate that the Warriors will again be fallible in 2022. At that point, Steph will be 33 and perhaps not regularly setting records. The three-point line may as well be 45 feet at that point, as well. If you wait until 2024 you have the bonus of potentially having LeBron James, Jr. on your team.
* Not valid if they sign Kevin Durant.
13. Bore them.
This is how the Nets almost beat them. The Warriors are so freaking good that they can sometimes tune out. Mere basketball becomes boring. Of course, they are also so good they can still win when they have completely ignored the game going on in front of them until the fourth quarter.
Using these rules, we have determined the remaining Warriors games the team is most likely to lose:
Wednesday, March 30 at Jazz. (See rules 1, 8, 9 and 10.)
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Unstoppable: Kawhi Leonard couldn't slow Stephen Curry, so maybe nobody can
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