Following Tuesday’s shocking overtime loss to Minnesota, the Golden State Warriors need to win their remaining four games to best the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls record of 72 wins. It’s a task that seems to be impacting the team’s play recently.
After winning 54 in a row at home, the Warriors have dropped two of their past three games at Oracle Arena. In those two games, the team has turned the ball over a ridiculous 45 times.
It’s these types of performances that make me think this search for the record is impacting Golden State from a mental standpoint. Good teams don’t turn the ball over that much. Defending champs don’t turn the ball over at that clip. Record-setting teams don’t turn the ball over the way we have seen from Golden State in recent games.
Most of these mistakes are mental. It’s not that the Warriors trying to make the right play or the extra pass. They are mental mistakes usually reserved for early in the season. A team with a record-setting number of assists, the Warriors will turn the ball over more. It’s akin to high-volume passing offenses throwing interceptions in football.
That said, there’s no reason a team as elite as the Warriors should lose a game that saw them hit 20 threes like what happened Friday against Boston.
On Tuesday, Golden State lost despite shooting 50 percent from the field. This tells us a story of a team that lost primarily due to mental lapses, which can easily be fixed with the some mental rest.
As Warriors head coach Steve Kerr indicated following Tuesday’s loss, it’s not about fatigue here. No other team in the history of the NBA has played otherwise meaningless late-season games with so much pressure on them.
Heck, even the 1995-96 Bulls had set the record prior to the final week and half of the season.
The issues here are two fold. First off, Golden State hasn’t clinched the top seed out west. Secondly, it’s still alive to put up the best record in NBA history. These are two incentives for the team as it closes out the regular season.
It’s also causing the Warriors to go into every game with a higher level of pressure than what would normally exist for a 69-9 team.
We have to remember, Golden State has been playing under a tremendous amount of pressure since the get go this season. After winning the first 24 games of the regular season, the talk quickly turned to this team besting the Bulls win record.
— Sportsnaut (@Sportsnaut) April 5, 2016
Add in what is now a record-setting home winning streak, and the amount of pressure this team has been holding on its shoulder over the season seems to be coming to a head.
This all with the backdrop of Draymond Green indicating his team is bored of the regular season.
Um, maybe Steve Kerr should take note here and avoid going for the 73 wins for the greater good. Not a single person will remember this team as being historical should it break the regular season wins record while failing to defend its title. Just ask the 2007 New England Patriots.
In the end, it’s not about physical fatigue. The NBA Playoffs enable teams to get ample amount of rest. Instead, it’s about mental fatigue. In this, the Warriors are facing an uphill climb.