Time to be Road Warriors

It is times like these, with the Warriors consistently coughing up games on the road, when you think it was pretty crazy that anyone thought this team might possibly make the playoffs.

The Warriors are now 1-9 away from Oracle Arena, which just so happens to be the worst road record in the league. Worse than Charlotte, worse than Philly, worse than Memphis.

The way the Warriors have lost this season on the road is particularly disturbing. In each of their past four road losses, the Warriors have actually played pretty well for extended stretches.

The defeats at home a couple of weeks ago to Indiana and Milwaukee were frustrating. But the recent losses on the road are sobering.

They led the Sonics by 16 at halftime in Seattle 10 days ago, were up eight in the third quarter at Phoenix, had four opportunities at Toronto to pull within a possession in the final quarter and were up eight in the fourth quarter against New Jersey.

That’s what makes the defeats especially demoralizing. It’s not like the Warriors have been consistently awful. The reality is that they

haven’t been half-bad. And one of the only logical conclusions is they’re not good enough to put together the kind of 48 minutes they need to put together to win on the road.

The book on the Warriors is now out. They will play well in stretches but have little luck sustaining a consistent level of play for four quarters. And because they aren’t a good defensive team, even when they’re playing well offensively, they don’t put a ton of distance between themselves and their opponents.

There is a sliver of good news, though.

The mid-pack of the Western Conference isn’t as good as many thought. The Warriors can take some solace in knowing that the competition isn’t in any better shape than they are. That includes New Orleans, Sacramento and the Los Angeles Clippers.

Conventional wisdom at the beginning of the season had the No. 8 team in the Western Conference having to win 44 or 45 games to get into the playoffs. That might not necessarily be the case. Forty-one wins might get it done. Minnesota currently holds down the eighth spot and is 10-11.

If the Warriors continue their current winning pace at home, they’re likely to win 28 or 29 games at Oracle Arena. That would leave them needing a dozen or so wins on the road to be there come April. Or put another way, the Warriors need to start winning one out of every three games on the road.

For the Warriors even to think about the playoffs, they’re going to have to get this road thing figured out. But with eight straight losses away from home, you wonder if they’re even capable of figuring it out.

Matt Steinmetz is the NBA insider for Warriors telecasts on Fox Sports Net.

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