Will the real Warriors stand up? 

OK, so the Warriors finally have their starting five healthy and playing together and the results have been encouraging — a 7-3 record with a Baron Davis, Jason Richardson, Stephen Jackson, Al Harrington and Andris Biedrins unit.

While that’s surely a positive mark and cause for some (a little?) optimism, the honest appraisal of the Warriors hasn’t yet come. With 10 games remaining and a two-game deficit to make up against the Los Angeles Clippers for the eighth spot, the next three weeks will give the truest assessment of this team.

Forget what they’ve done to this point. It almost doesn’t matter. It’s what happens next that’s far more important.

It seems reasonable to assume that the Warriors are going to need at the very least six wins — more likely seven or more — in their remaining games to make their first postseason appearance in 13 years.

It also seems reasonable to believe they could do that. But can they really?

As well as the Warriors have played recently — their 126-89 loss Monday to the San Antonio Spurs notwithstanding — they’re going to have to play better still to get in. Why? Because remaining on the Warriors’ schedule are Phoenix, Houston, San Antonio, Utah and Dallas.

Those are big boys. And not only are they big boys, they’re big boys fine-tuning their games for the playoffs.

The league’s best teams are rounding into form and the Warriors witnessed that firsthand Monday at Oracle Arena. It was really quite sobering. The Spurs didn’t mess around. The Suns aren’t going to, either, and neither will the Rockets and so on and so forth.

There will be no accidental wins for the Warriors against those teams. No catching them on an off-night. No opposing stars taking the game off. No chance of a gift win.

Quite frankly, teams like that (elite teams on pace to win more than 50 games) don’t usually lose to teams like the Warriors (six games under .500) this late in the season.

If the Warriors do in fact have a half-dozen or more wins in them between now and the season finale on April 18, it would mean the Bay Area might just have a ballclub on its hands.

Six or seven wins means the Warriors knocked off a pretty darn good team or two late in the season, when it mattered. Six or seven wins also means that the Warriors took care of Memphis, which they play twice, Sacramento, Minnesota and Portland, proving in the process they’re a tangible notch above those teams.

Call me crazy, but I would rather see the Warriors go 7-3 in their final 10 and miss the playoffs than go 5-5 and back their way in because the Clippers and New Orleans Hornets floundered miserably down the stretch.

Of course, in a perfect world for Warriors’ fans, they go 7-3 and get in.

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

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Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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