The 67-win Golden State Warriors stand six victories away from history with eight games to go in the regular season, and San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich seems keen to help them reach the 72 and 73-win thresholds.
The Warriors and Spurs will square off two more times this season, but Spurs guard Tony Parker said on his radio show in France this week that he expects Popovich to rest the Spurs’ starters in both contests.
That said, ambivalence is impossible to scrutinize. Especially when it’s coming from the best coach in the NBA and one of the sport’s all-time greats.
The Dubs have a clear-as-day trap game Wednesday in Utah to start a seven-games-in-12-days stretch that will mostly take place in Oakland.
Winning all but two of those remaining games to set the single-season wins record will be a challenge for the Warriors, but with the Spurs keen to play their B-team — even if that B-team is better than the majority of NBA squads — it’s fair to presume two wins.
Popovich not playing his starters against the Warriors down the stretch is being presented as a rest issue, but it’s also could be a strong bit of gamesmanship as well. The Spurs beat the Warriors in their last straight-up matchup, so why give the Warriors two more looks at the Spurs’ best stuff ahead of the playoffs? Save your smoke for the playoffs.
Popovich might be throwing away his team’s own shot at history, though. It would be a shock if Popovich rested the Spurs starters for the April 10 matchup with the Warriors, which will take place in San Antonio. The Spurs, like the Warriors, are undefeated at home this season. If that unblemished record persists into the final days of the season, it’d be difficult to "throw" a contest.