Saturday, February 27, 2016

Golden State and the record

The all time best single season record in the NBA was set by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls at 72-10. It is most certainly in danger of being eclipsed this year by the Golden State Warriors. Now at 53-5, ahead of the Bulls' pace back then, this year's Warrior team has a very good shot at pulling it off. Or do they?

Despite how gaudy their record becomes, and all the long winning streaks, it seems every time one does the math, the Warriors still face a daunting task. Sure, 53-5 means they've won at better than a 10 to 1 ratio. Yet with 24 games remaining, they need to go 20-4 to best the record. In other words, win 5 out of every 6. The odds are getting better, but winning 5 out of 6 still requires some mighty good stuff. And that's assuming no major injuries befall them in the next few weeks. GS has been fortunate so far this year in that regard. But ya never know.

Thing is, the remaining schedule is tilted decidedly in their favor. Of the 24 games, they play 17 of them at home. And a few of the road games are against Girl-Scoutish teams. Like the Lakers and T-Wolves. It should also be noted that, so far, the Warriors are undefeated at home.

Yet that raises a few sub-plots. NO team in NBA history has ever gone a complete regular season without getting beat on their home court. (The 95-96 Bulls lost two, in the final two weeks of the season). Could the same happen to Golden State this year? Possibly.

But the San Antonio Spurs also remain perfect at home so far this season. Unlike GS, they've had to deal with a few injuries to star players in recent weeks, but still remain only 3.5 games behind the Warriors for the best record in the west.

It's theoretically possible that both the Spurs and Warriors could go undefeated on their home courts this year during the regular season. If a "never happened before" record gets broken, how cool would it be for two teams to do it in the same year?

The last few weeks of the regular season will feature some "must-see" games between these two teams. They've only met once so far, in Oakland, and the Warriors pounded the Spurs. They have three more go-rounds remaining -- two of them in San Antonio.

As mentioned above, the Warriors can only lose 4 more games this season if they want to outdo the 95-96 Bulls. Yep, they've got a very friendly home schedule, but those two games in Alamoville could be quite dicey. And who knows? Another huge upset along the way could always happen. Good grief, how the Warriors ever lost to the lowly Detroit Pistons earlier this year will always remain a head scratcher. As in -- say what? Were they piping in Flint water to the visitors' locker room?

Nevertheless, as the NBA regular season winds down, a lot of different possible scenarios remain in play. All-time team records could be broken. Or not. Individually, Steph Curry of the Warriors just broke his own all time record for most 3 pointers made in a single season. With 24 games left, what his final tally will be is unknown -- but it's a certainty the bar's going to get raised a whole lot higher -- perhaps never to be approached again. It would be hard to argue he isn't the best long-range shooter the NBA has even seen -- or ever will.

And somewhere, Mr. Potato Head (sometimes known as Commissioner Adam Silver) is enjoying every minute of it. The Spurs and Warriors still undefeated at home with 3 more match-ups between them remaining. All-time records are potentially in play. The Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors slugging it out for supremacy in the East. Nary a recent report of a player beating up his wife/girlfriend, testing positive for steroids, or doing something stupid with a gun. Life is good in Mr. Potato Head's world these days.

But back to the Golden State Warriors. Can they go 20-4 the rest of the way to reach the magical 73-9 mark?

Sure. These guys are most definitely the real deal. While the Spurs may exhibit the ultimate in team play under coach Pop, GS is a tsunami waiting to happen. When they get it going -- look out.    

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