Editor's note: Grant Liffmann (@grantliffmann) is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders, which airs on NBC Sports Bay Area 90 minutes before each home game and 60 minutes after every game. Each week, Grant will drop his Outsider Observation on the state of the Dubs.
The NBA Schedule has officially been released, and now the start of the season is in sight. With about two and a half months left before the first regular-season game in Chase Center history, Warriors officials can now prepare itineraries and accommodations for the 2019-20 season that spans approximately five and a half months.
It is too early for players or coaches to circle games and begin strategizing against their opponents, considering they haven't even seen their own team practice or play yet. However, it is not too early to examine some difficult stretches of games in the upcoming season that could very well dictate the fate of the Warriors.
Here are five of the toughest stretches in chronological order:
Oct. 24-Oct 28 (Three games)
vs LA Clippers, @Oklahoma City, @New Orleans
Why are the first three games especially tough? Well because the Warriors will have no idea what to expect from themselves or these opponents. All four teams -- including the Warriors -- had massive offseason overhauls, so it will be quite difficult to scout or understand the opponent so early in the season. The Clippers are one of the early title favorites, so the Warriors will have their hands full in the first official game at Chase Center.
Heading out on the first road trip can always be a bit of a feeling-out process as well, so the Warriors will have their work cut out from them facing a veteran Thunder team led by Chris Paul, Steven Adams and Danilo Gallinari, and then a young, uber-athletic Pelicans team revolving around rookie phenom Zion Williamson.
Nov. 11-Nov. 22 (Seven games)
vs Utah, @LA Lakers, vs Boston, @New Orleans, @Memphis, @Dallas, @Utah
One back-to-back (@MEM, @DAL)
This first gauntlet of tough opponents starts in mid-November, and it includes five of seven games on the road. Utah has upgraded their already talented roster to become one of the elite teams in the West, so a stretch with them as bookends is quite difficult. The first meeting with LeBron James and Anthony Davis will be an electric match up in Los Angeles. Boston, Dallas and New Orleans all have youthful yet highly-skilled rosters.
While Memphis should be one of the bottom-dwellers in the league, they will be the quintessential "trap game" as it will be on the front end of a back-to-back, and it will be easy to overlook them.
Jan. 20-Jan. 30 (Five games)
@Portland, vs Utah, vs Indiana, @Philadelphia, @Boston
No back-to-backs, three-day break between Indiana and Philadelphia
As the NBA schedule moves to late January, the league can hit a "dog days" type lull where teams anticipate the mid-February All-Star break and lose a bit of steam. The Warriors, however, will not have the ability to lose focus as they play a menacing stretch of five games with expected playoff teams, including three games on the road. Many think that Philadelphia could have the best starting five in the league, which should make the matchup that much more difficult.
Fortunately for the Warriors, they will receive a rare three-day break before they head over to Philly, giving them a chance to catch their breath and rest their legs.
March 3-March 18 (Eight games)
@Denver, vs Toronto, vs Philadelphia, vs LA Clippers, vs Brooklyn, @Milwaukee, @Toronto, @Indiana
A couple of weeks after the All-Star break, the Warriors will play a grueling eight-game stretch that includes two matchups against their 2019 Finals foe. Despite losing Kawhi Leonard, the Raptors should still be worthy of an Eastern Conference playoff spot with Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam. The Warriors will also face four teams that are expected to be at the very top of the league in the Nuggets, 76ers, Clippers and Bucks.
Yet despite the stiff competition, unless there is an unforeseen setback, the Warriors will be at their best around this time as many expect Klay Thompson to be returning from his ACL injury around this stretch.
March 29-April 15th (Nine games)
vs San Antonio, vs Denver, @Houston, @San Antonio, vs Cleveland, @LA Lakers, @LA Clippers, vs Portland, @Sacramento
Two back-to-backs (@HOU, @SAS and vs CLE, @LAL), four-day break between San Antonio and Cleveland
The Warriors will need Thompson to survive an arduous sprint to the end of the season. The final nine games of the season will feature seven teams expected to be in the playoffs, and another against Sacramento who could very well be in the hunt as well. Potentially the most difficult back-to-back will also happen in this stretch when the Warriors play in Houston followed by San Antonio.
Luckily for the Warriors, they get an ultra-rare four-day break after the game in San Antonio, which comes at the perfect time as they play another set of back-to-back games at home against the lowly Cavaliers, followed by a late-season showdown at the Lakers on the back end.