The Golden State Warriors may have fumbled away the opportunity to break the all-time NBA record for wins. The Warriors’ 124-117 loss in overtime to the Minnesota Timberwolves is a sign that the season is catching up to them as they chase the 73-win threshold. The loss leaves the Warriors at 69-9. Is the pressure of breaking the wins’ record starting to wear on the Golden State Warriors?
In order to replace the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls in the record books, Golden State will have to be undefeated in their final four games – not an easy task, given that they will play the Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs twice.
Because their seeding is practically set, the Spurs are expected to rest some of their players. Veteran players know how to pace themselves and San Antonio is full of sage veterans. From Tim Duncan all the way to the new stars of the team, Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge, the Spurs are an experienced bunch. San Antonio is unconcerned where they have to play. That could loom large in the next two out of three games for Golden State.
Memphis is a different story. The Grizzlies are playing for playoff position. What they must determine is which potential first-round opponent they match up better with. Chances are good that the Grizzlies will either play the Los Angeles Clippers or Oklahoma City Thunder.
Only a half game separates the Memphis Grizzlies and the Portland Trailblazers. They are the fifth and sixth seeds respectively.
It is conceivable the Grizzlies could rest some players and slide to the sixth, knowing that playing Golden State twice could result in defeat anyway.
Whether the Grizzlies rest players or not, it is up to the Warriors to go out and win.
Broken record or not, they have been dominant throughout the season. Just because they will be challenged by both the Grizzlies and Spurs, it is not a given that they will lose again before the playoffs begin. Most people recognize the Warriors as the best team in the Association. At this point into the season, rest may be more important. Now the biggest question leading up to the playoffs will be if it is more sensible for the Warriors to chase the wins record or get much-needed rest.
Unless the Houston Rockets, who are in ninth place, overtake the Utah Jazz for the last playoff spot, the Warriors are expected to coast to the second round. In between rounds is where the rest could come. Most of Golden State’s players cannot wait to get the season over and done with. Forward Draymond Green offered those thoughts (courtesy of ESPN) to reporters.
“It’s human nature to where, all right, kind of ready for the regular season to end. Talking 82 games, we get bored with that after awhile. And that’s no excuse, just, I’m always give it to y’all real, and that’s about as real as I can be. It’s kind of at a point now where you’re ready for the regular season to be over.”
Was the loss to the Timberwolves due to boredom?
What about last week’s loss to the Boston Celtics?
The latter cannot be due to boredom completely. The Warriors were trying to be the first team to win each of their home games in a single season. Prior to the Boston defeat, the last time the Warriors were on the wrong side of the win column was a loss to the Chicago Bulls on January 27, 2015.
While the recent losses were probably necessary for the Warriors to fine tune a few things, it might have cost them the wins record. How important is breaking the wins record if the year ends without an NBA title?
That is what veteran swingman Andre Iguodala wants to know. He raises that question to Michael Lee of Yahoo Sports.
“What does it mean? The New England Patriots go whatever-and-0, and then they don’t win a Super Bowl and y’all don’t talk about them anymore. What difference does it make? I just want us to play at a high level, which we can do.”
Rest would help the Golden State Warriors a great deal. In order to play at a higher level, they will need to rest up. With the all-time wins record in their mitts, rest will be hard to come by.
[Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]