Prior to handling the Los Angeles Clippers on their home court for the team’s 51st consecutive regular season home win, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr made a rather interesting proclamation.
The defending champs will not be resting their star players down the stretch in order to get prepared for the upcoming NBA Playoffs:
“Now we’re right there,” Kerr said before the game, via San Jose Mercury News. “That’s pretty enticing. It’s really the players’ record. I know they want to get it. So we’ll act accordingly.”
By virtue of their 114-98 win over the Clippers to complete the season sweep, Golden State now boasts a 64-7 record.
It needs to win nine of the final 11 in order to break the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls regular season record for wins.
This is something that’s been a bit of a conversation around Warriors ground recently. Once Golden State started with a NBA record 24 consecutive wins to open the season, talk of Jordan’s Bulls took precedence over what was happening during the 2015-16 season, at least when it came to how the media approached players.
In turn, Warriors players weren’t afraid to discuss what it would mean for them to break the Bulls record. It, however, was the coaching staff that didn’t want to get bogged down in records and the like. After all, posting 73 wins will amount to a hill of beans should the team not defend its NBA title.
“This whole idea of setting a record does make things a little trickier. It’s the players who are setting a record. It’s not the organization. It’s the players who are doing it,” Kerr continued. “So they will absolutely have some say in matters down the stretch in terms of how we approach everything.”
Golden State currently boasts a four-game lead over the San Antonio Spurs for the top spot out west. This means Kerr and Co. can justify continuing to play their starters large minutes until home-court advantage is wrapped up. After that, it then becomes all about breaking the single-season record for wins.
With eight of their final 11 games at home, Golden State stands a darn good chance of besting this record. In addition to a current 51-game winning streak at home, the Warriors have won 69 of their past 70 regular season games at Oracle Arena.
Though, continued success there in the regular season won’t matter if this team’s starters aren’t somewhat rested heading into the playoffs.
In this, reigning MVP Stephen Curry doesn’t seem to be too concerned:
“For us, we don’t want to limp into the playoffs,” Curry said. “We want to continue to play better and fine-tune on both sides of the ball, our execution. We want to continue to establish winning habits and a winning mentality as you go into the playoffs. Whatever it takes to motivate us at this point, whether it’s just continue what we’ve been doing, searching for that 73, No. 1 seed, whatever it is.”
Finding a happy medium is going to be big here. After all, Saturday’s loss to the Spurs in San Antonio tells us a story of a NBA landscape that’s not going to hand the title to the Warriors on a silver platter.
It will be interesting to see how the Warriors find some sort of a common ground moving forward.