Warriors

Warriors open 2018-19 season vs Thunder, host LeBron's Lakers on Christmas

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Warriors open 2018-19 season vs Thunder, host LeBron's Lakers on Christmas

The NBA released the teaser portion of its schedule on Wednesday, and the sneak preview revealed the Warriors are at home for two of the league’s three annual marquee dates.

Here are the dates and opponents:

Opening night (Oct. 16) vs. Thunder: Russell Westbrook can only watch as former Oklahoma City teammate Kevin Durant receives his championship ring, the second year in a row for the Finals MVP. The teams split four games last season, but OKC could improve after retooling. Tipoff: 7:30 Pacific from Oracle Arena.

Christmas Day (Dec. 25) vs. Lakers: For the fourth consecutive year, the Warriors will find LeBron James under their Christmas tree. The jersey has changed, and Los Angeles will have its strongest roster in five years. Tipoff: 5 p.m. Pacific, prime time on the East Coast, from Oracle Arena.

MLK Day (Jan. 21) at Los Angeles Lakers: The Warriors are making what has become their traditional appearance on Martin Luther King Day, this time on the road. Tipoff: 7:30 p.m. Pacific, from Staples Center. It will conclude the league’s nationally televised tripleheader.

The Warriors also learned that they must travel to Utah to face the formidable Jazz on Oct. 19 in Vivint Smart Home Arena. 

The NBA is set to release its full schedule on Friday.

Kyrie Irving details why the Celtics can beat the Warriors in a seven-game series

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Kyrie Irving details why the Celtics can beat the Warriors in a seven-game series

The Warriors have the best odds of winning the 2019 title.

The Celtics have the second best odds.

Kyrie Irving is confident that his squad will be hoisting the Larry O'Brien trophy in June.

"Can we beat Golden State in a seven-game series? Yes," Irving told ESPN's Jackie MacMullan. "Because of who we have, and what we're establishing here, not just for this season, but for hopefully for the next few years, something that's pretty special.

"I've played against Golden State in three straight Finals -- two that I was able to participate in -- and seeing them evolve, with the talent they have, and then adding DeMarcus Cousins, it's like 'OK, the whole league is on notice.'

"But there's one factor that they're aware of, and I'm aware of, and that's that I've seen them up close. I've played them so many times. We've gone in a seven-game series so I know what it takes."

Yes he does.

Over Games 3 through 7 in the 2016 Finals, Kyrie averaged 30.8 points and 4.4 assists while shooting just under 51 percent from the field (he also made a kind of important shot late in Game 7).

The five-time All-Star averaged 29.4 points and 4.4 assists on 47 percent shooting in the 2017 Finals.

Over the past couple of years, the Warriors' star players have consistently praised Kyrie and they genuinely respect his game.

The feeling is mutual as Kyrie understands the immense challenge that lies ahead.

"How do I communicate to our guys that this is the top-tier team, and we have to grow immensely in the next six months to beat them consistently? Not just one game, not just two, but in a seven-game series, because they're so dang great," Kyrie said. "They're a powerhouse."

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Report: Tyler Ulis signing with Warriors instead of Kings, Rockets

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Report: Tyler Ulis signing with Warriors instead of Kings, Rockets

The Warriors still are waiting on Patrick McCaw to sign his qualifying offer, but they reportedly brought in some backcourt depth in the meantime.

The two-time defending champions are set to sign ex-Phoenix Suns guard Tyler Ulis to an Exhibit 10 contract, according to The Athletic and ESPN. Ulis chose to sign with the Warriors over the Sacramento Kings and Houston Rockets, ESPN's Marc Spears reported Friday.

Ulis averaged 7.8 points and 23.4 minutes per game in 71 appearances with the Suns last season. He started 43 games, two of which came in April against the Warriors. 

The 22-year-old, whom the Suns drafted in the second round in 2016, figures to have a tough time cracking the Warriors' rotation. Point guards Stephen Curry, Shaun Livingston and Quinn Cook all will be ahead of him on the depth chart, and Ulis' lack of size (5-foot-10, 150 pounds) makes time at the other guard spot unlikely. 

That explains his contract, then. An Exhibit 10 deal means that Ulis will receive a bonus of up to $50,000 if he signs with the G-League Santa Cruz after the Warriors waive him, according to ESPN's Bobby Marks' explainer of the deal. Ulis' deal also can become a two-way contract, minus the bonus.