Every basketball fan not in a coma has long known the Golden State Warriors are chasing history this year. So are the San Antonio Spurs. I'll get back to the latter.
GS is trying to best the all-time best regular season record of 72-10 set by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls. The Warriors are currently 71-9, with two games remaining. Win them both and they have the record. Lose them both and they fall short.
Guess what? They're going to tie it. It's the logical conclusion on several levels.
The Warriors will take on the San Antonio Spurs in the second of back to back road games after narrowly defeating Memphis on the road. Meanwhile, the Spurs had the day off at home to prepare for the defending champs. Whether such scheduling is "fair" is a moot point. Over the course of the long 82 game season, all teams will have their easy and hard stretches. In this case, it's just the way it worked out. And who could have foreseen at the beginning of the season -- when both teams were well aware of their schedules -- that it would come down to this at the end?
It's no secret that SA head coach Gregg Popovich has been resting his starters down the stretch. Good grief, in their last contest at Utah, six of his top players didn't even dress for the game. The Spurs lost -- barely.
But while GS chasing the record continues to be the lead story, another equally significant possible feat is flying under the radar. San Antonio has yet to lose at home. No team in NBA history has ever gone a full season without suffering defeat in their own arena.
On Sunday night, something's gotta give. For the Warriors to top the Bulls record of old, they need to knock off the Spurs on the road. That's assuming GS cruises at home against the Grizzlies when they officially conclude their regular season at home after getting Monday and Tuesday off. Let's bank the latter.
But in order to set their OWN record -- and possibly send a message for what's to come in the playoffs -- the Spurs will no doubt have all hands on deck in the late season showdown with the Warriors.
So far, the two teams have played three times. The two in Oakland were easily won by the Warriors, while the one in San Antonio saw the Spurs crank up the defense and put the clamps on the splashers from the Bay area in a win of their own.
This is easily the most anticipated game of the year in the NBA. Can GS find a way to win in San Antonio while continuing to march towards the record? Or will SA remain perfect at home in their own pursuit of a never-done before mark?
[It should also be noted that GS hasn't won a game at SA in a very long time. As in when now 40 year old Tim Duncan was still playing college ball at Wake Forest, and Coach Pop merely a rookie in the NBA.]
Sure, however it turns out, after the regular season is over, everything gets reset to zero once the playoffs start. It's like that in all team sports. Qualify to get to the post-season. Once there, keep winning and move on. Or lose along the way and go home. In the end, there will only be one champion.
Yet the best part of it all? The match-up everybody wants to see -- with hoop records at stake -- just happens to fall on the same day as the final round of the Masters golf tournament.
Oh my, your average sports couch tater's utopia. Make sure to put a fresh set of batteries in the remote. Phone in the double-cheese meat-eaters large pizza with all the other goodies to be delivered at about 2 PM. Check the brew supply. If a possible shortage exists, get thy butt down to the local party store to reload before the pizza shows up. By all means, turn off the phone. Significant others? Green light them to go shopping somewhere. Worry about the credit card bill next month. With any luck they'll bring back something useful -- like a remote controlled robotic house cleaner. Did I mention batteries? And aren't DVRs the best invention since ESPN?
It should be a glorious Sunday indeed.
Hold the anchovies......