Breaking down the rest of the Warriors’ schedule as they chase the ’96 Bulls
For want of a Stephen Curry 3-pointer, the Golden State Warriors lost their first home game of the season.
Okay, let’s be fair. That’s not giving enough credit to the Boston Celtics, who played one hell of a game in taking down Curry & Co. But the reigning MVP did just miss a deep three with five seconds remaining that could have sent the game to overtime.
Instead, the Celtics escaped with a 109-106 win, despite 20 made 3s from the Warriors. It’s the first time in NBA history that a team has knocked down that many triples and been defeated:
Warriors went 20-43 from 3 in tonight's loss. Prior to tonight, NBA teams were 7-0 when making at least 20 3s. pic.twitter.com/jL3JXEinjF
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) April 2, 2016
So with Golden State failing in the quest to become the only team ever to go undefeated at home, the Warriors will turn their attention to the last record they have left: Trying to top the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls’ mark of 72 regular season wins.
Can they do it? Assuming coach Steve Kerr doesn’t decide to start resting his starters in anticipation of the playoffs, a quick glance at the schedule says yes. To wit:
4/3/16: vs. Portland Trail Blazers
The Warriors have beaten Portland by double-digits in two of their three meetings this year. On the flip side, the Blazers crushed the Warriors in February when Damian Lillard went off for 51 points.
That game came in Portland, however; this next meeting will be the Warriors’ first home game since their loss to the Celtics, so they should be extra-inspired to come out with the win.
Prediction: Warriors win an epic point guard duel
Result: Yep. Damian Lillard and Stephen Curry went at it in the third quarter, and the Warriors won by double-digits.
4/5/16: vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
Minnesota gave the Warriors a tough time just over a week ago, but like the Blazers, the Wolves were at home for their 109-104 loss. We really like Karl-Anthony Towns and his young teammates. Golden State’s playing for history, though, and there’s very little chance they’ll overlook the Wolves again.
Prediction: Warriors win by 15+ points
Result: Nope! The Wolves came up big, winning in overtime on the Warriors’ home court. And it seemed as if the Warriors were once again overlooking the Wolves at times. Which is incredible, since Towns is very clearly going to be a problem for Golden State and the rest of the NBA for years to come.
4/7/16: vs. San Antonio Spurs
This one is almost entirely up to Gregg Popovich, and signs so far are pretty positive for Golden State. Tony Parker seems to think that Pop will rest his starters in both of the Spurs’ remaining games with the Warriors. If that’s the case, this one should be a piece of cake and could put Golden State one win away from tying history.
Prediction: Spurs rest everyone, Warriors win a blowout
Result: Not so fast there, friends. The Spurs are playing their healthy players against Golden State. On the other hand, the Warriors went ahead and rolled through San Antonio anyway, claiming their 70th win of the season.
4/9/16: @ Memphis Grizzlies
There’s no rational reason to feel this way. Call it a hunch, we guess. But we could absolutely see the Grizzlies somehow punching the Warriors in the mouth — metaphorically, we think — and sneaking away with a win here. Yes, the same team that lost by 50 points early in the season and then lost half its healthy players.
We know. We know. You just never know what can happen when the other team drags you down into the mud. The NBA is a league of matchups more than anything. Yes, the Warriors are far and away a more talented team. If the Grizzlies can impose their physicality — and they’ll definitely try — then this game could go sideways, especially if the Warriors face close contests in the games leading up to this one.
Prediction: Lance Stephenson destroys the concept of “logic,” Grizzlies barely win
We originally predicted a weird loss here. Full disclosure: It was less about the Grizzlies and more about coming to terms with the fact that the Warriors were going to lose at least one more game this season. Here’s the original prediction:
After that loss to Minnesota, however, we’re no longer predicting a Memphis win. Sorry, Grizzlies fans.
Prediction: Memphis is too depleted, and the Warriors win a low-scoring affair.
Result: The Grizzlies had a chance to win it all on the final possession, but Lance Stephenson ruined everything, and the Warriors held on for win 71.
4/10/16: @ San Antonio Spurs
History should be on the line in San Antonio next Sunday. The Warriors will either be playing to tie the 95-96 Bulls or set a new record. Meanwhile, if the Spurs can win Saturday, April 2 against the Raptors, they’ll still be undefeated at home as Golden State comes to town. We can think of nothing sweeter than setting a record and stopping a rival from establishing one of their own in the same fell swoop.
Prediction: With that said, we’re predicting a Spurs win at home. But we’d love to be wrong.
4/13/16: vs. Memphis Grizzlies
Assuming everything goes right for the Warriors, they’ll be in danger of losing this game — because they’ll already have set the record, and their starters will be resting before the playoffs. Unless, of course, they manage to lose one of their games before this one. (UPDATE: Welp.) That would mean a 72-9 record headed into the last day of the season — and a whole lot of drama.
Prediction: Warriors obliterate the Grizzlies to tie history