At the All-Star break, the 2015-2016 Warriors remain on track to top the NBA-record 72 wins set by the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls. After drubbing the Suns in Phoenix last night, the defending champion Warriors improved to 48-4.
Michael Jordan’s 1995-1996 Bulls – who, it should be noted, didn’t reach the Finals the year prior, because Jordan returned midway through the season after striking out in baseball, and they were bounced by the Penny Hardaway/Shaq Orlando Magic – started the season 48-6.
The Warriors, so far: Started 24-0, and then without Harrison Barnes, they suffered a 13-point loss to the Bucks on the final game of a 7-game road trip. Without Stephen Curry, they were drilled by the Dallas Mavericks 114-91, dropping their record to 29-2. Without Draymond Green, they lost to Denver, 112-110, falling to 36-3. Golden State only has one loss when its entire starting lineup is healthy and plays: a surprising 113-95 drubbing at the hands of the Pistons.
The only explanation that makes any sense for that defeat?
It was the game before a much-anticipated showdown in Cleveland againstLeBron and the healthy Cavs. Golden State won, 132-98.
But the Warriors are certainly going to take another L soon after the All-Star break. Maybe a couple. No team in NBA history has swept a 7-game road trip, and this is how Golden State opens next week:
at LA Clippers (back-to-back, ABC)
at Orlando (back-to-back)
at Oklahoma City (ABC)
Injuries-pending, this is probably the stretch that will determine whether or not the Warriors can catch the Bulls.
One loss? They can still top 72 wins.
Two losses? They’ll leave themselves zero room for error, especially considering they have these games in March and April: vs OKC, at San Antonio, vs the Clippers, at the Jazz, vs Boston, vs San Antonio and then at San Antonio on April 10th in Game #81.
By pushing for 73 wins and the record, does it leave the Warriors vulnerable to wearing down in the postseason? Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are all still in their mid-20s. But they played 21 postseason games last year; the Spurs played seven, Kevin Durant played none.
Put me down for 73 wins and the NBA record.