A little more than a year ago, the Warriors embarked on a grueling seven-game trip that launched them into legitimacy. They went 6-1, the most successful trip in franchise history, and it catapulted them to an eventual playoff berth.
So here they go again. And go and go and go. It's another seven-gamer, a 13-day trip, but the actual games will be compressed into a span of 11 days, starting Sunday in Cleveland. Then it'll be on to Orlando, Miami, Atlanta, Washington, Milwaukee and Brooklyn.
Five of the seven teams will be the same the Warriors played last year on their season-turning junket, so it's not surprising that they see much opportunity based on what they accomplished last year.
"That was really the stamp on our season," Draymond Green said. "That was really the point that everybody realized we were serious."
The outlook is changed a bit now. Everybody realizes the Warriors are serious as one of the best teams in the Western Conference, and they enter this trip reasonably healthy and packing a head of steam. At 18-13, they've won four straight and five of six, and they've played fewer games against the weaker Eastern Conference by far -- just four -- than any other West team. Five of the seven teams they'll play on this trip have losing records.
But it's really about the Warriors right now and not the opponent. This is a better team than the one that set out in December last year three games over .500 and not really knowing what to expect.
"I thought it was a chance to get away, grow closer as a basketball team, understand the challenges of being a good team and winning on the road," coach Mark Jackson said. "For us, it was brand new, because up until that point, we had not been established as a good team, so I thought it was a great roll for us.
"But we know who we are now," Jackson continued. "We know we're more than capable of going into someone else's house and winning a ballgame. It does not have to include a spectacular night by Steph Curry or somebody else. We're a good enough team where our defense will win games for us."
To be sure, the Warriors have turned up the defense since Andre Iguodala returned to the lineup after missing 12 games with a hamstring strain. For the season, they've held 13 opponents under 40 percent shooting and posted an 11-2 record in those games.
They also have more flow to their offense of late as a result of their defense and rebounding. The bench is providing more production now that Harrison Barnes has resettled into the sixth-man spot, and they've cut down on their turnovers in the past week.
In short, if they have to make a trip like this, they couldn't be in much better shape.
"I think the difference this year is that we're really playing good ball as a team going into the trip, so it gives you great momentum," David Lee said. "The way we look at it is that when we've had a full team, we've been very solid this year (13-3 with all the core starters healthy). We just have to keep playing consistent ball like we are."
Said Curry: "It's a test for us to continue what we've started these last four games. We're going to be together battling for two straight weeks, so we have to show up and play hard from the start."
That's precisely what the Warriors did last year on their seven-gamer, and when they upset the defending NBA champion Miami Heat in the fifth game of the trip, it really sent them on their way. Their only loss was to Orlando after winning the first five.
"For the most part, we always felt like we had a chance to be good, but there is a turning point in every season," Green said. "It can be for the better or the worse, and that was our turning point toward really giving us a boost of confidence. We had some level confidence already, but that trip really gave us certainty about how good we could be."
And this year?
"This is a really important road trip for us," Green said. "The past few games have been very good for us, but it doesn't mean that much if we can't continue to build on it. We need to go on the road and be thinking about going 5-2 or 6-1, if not 7-0."
Follow Carl Steward on Twitter at twitter.com/stewardsfolly.
Warriors (18-13) at Cleveland (10-19), 3 p.m. CSNBA