Heisler: Warriors’ pursuit of NBA record welcome in the West
Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error A funny thing may or may not happen to the Warriors, who are trying to break the Bulls’ record of 72 wins on their way to back-to-back titles, but could wind up with the worst of both worlds, instead:1) Settling for tying the record, or missing it altogether.2) Wearing themselves out in the process.Or, they could get the record, realizing the “once in a lifetime” opportunity that people in the Bay Area go on and on about — which would be quickly forgotten in the run-up to the playoffs. Not to worry. They can still get to 73 just by winning their home games.April 5: Oops. They blow a 17-point lead and are stunned at home by 25-win Minnesota.Draymond Green, who’s the Warriors’ inspirational leader, or out of control, or both, is asked if they’ve been caught up in the hype:“Honestly?” Green says. “Yes.”Green then corrects himself — a little — noting they weren’t really “caught up” but it’s no longer a romp.“It’s human nature to where, all right, kind of ready for the regular season to end,” Green says.“It’s kind of at a point now where you’re ready for the regular season to be over.”Unfortunately, there are five games left with that [email protected]#$%! record still out there.April 7: Showing who’s still whom, the Warriors dump 65-12 San Antonio, 112-101, after leading by 23 to win No. 70.Now there’s as much talk about rest the record.Kerr, brilliant at dealing with the hysteria in the Bay Area, is less so at explaining what they’re doing and why it’s up to the players.Asked to compare this team to those 1995-96 Bulls, for whom he played, Kerr says, straight-faced, that he has a grammatical issue — “I don’t know who ‘we’ is and who ‘they’ are” — concluding, “There’s no question that we could beat us.”On the other hand, Kerr, who has said his players will decide what to do, is trying ever-so-gently to help them decide the smart thing is kissing off the record.“I’m inclined to give some guys some rest if they need it,” Kerr says, “but I’ve sort of made a pact with the guys that if they are not banged up and they are not tired and if they want to go for this record or whatever then — so we got to talk.”He had better talk fast. Green, Thompson and Harrison Barnes say they won’t sit out.Kerr is trying to rise above a modern-day fascination with the immediate, hyped in no small way by real-time excitement on social media … even if it conflicts with the knowledge that only one thing counts and this isn’t it.With two days off before the season finale at home, Kerr had hoped to get No. 73 by then, giving him a week to rest his players between their next-to-last game — Sunday in San Antonio — and the playoffs.Now they have to win out to get No. 73, beating a Spurs team trying to become the first to go 41-0 at home for an NBA season.If Coach Gregg Popovich couldn’t care less about any record, home-court advantage is the only edge he has over the Warriors, who beat the Spurs twice in Oakland by a total of 41 points, but fell to them in a slowdown game last month in San Antonio.So Pop, who wrote the book on resting his stars, isn’t likely to do it Sunday.Now to see who gets which record and, more importantly, if it has a price tag.Mark Heisler has written an NBA column since 1991 and was honored with the Naismith Hall of Fame’s Curt Gowdy Award in 2006. His column is published Sundays in Los Angeles News Group print editions. In any case, their players won’t let Coach Steve Kerr rest them. With the team in the midst of three games in four days, Curry ignored Kerr’s invitation to sit out Saturday in Memphis and went back out there.On behalf of the other seven West teams in playoff slots, who went 3-22 against the Warriors:March 30: Klay Thompson’s three at end of regulation ties it before they win in OT in Utah.Suggesting they finally feel the pressure, Curry says it’s the first time he thought about the Bulls’ record during a game.April 1: Boston, a mere 43-32 team, ends the Warriors’ 54-game home winning streak.