49–5: Back from the Break
Friday’s 32 point shellacking by the Trail Blazers served as a timely reminder to the world that 72–10 or 73–9 is not a fait accompli for the Warriors. Damian Lillard was their biggest challenge on Friday night, but we were also reminded Saturday with the news about Andrew Bogut’s injury (on top of Festus Ezeli’s extended absence) that the toughest opponent on the way to the best record in basketball history will always be health.
With their win Saturday at the Clippers, the Warriors moved to 49–5. The win returned them to one game up on the 1995–96 Bulls who were 48–6 after losing game 54 to a shorthanded Miami Heat the day after the trade deadline. San Antonio is still only 3 games back of the Warriors at 47–9 after also going 1–1 since the All-Star Break. The chart below also reminds us that the Spurs are still tracking to one of the all-time best regular seasons in history.
Saturday’s Clipper game was another example of the Warriors raising their level against their toughest opponents. Golden State is now 11–0 against the other top four seeds in each conference with eight games remaining against them. The Warriors are 24–2 (0.923) against current playoff teams and 25–3 (0.893) against current lottery teams.
The Warriors six-games-in-nine-nights road trip continues with a great game for fans Monday at Atlanta. That game will be on NBA TV, but unbelievably Wednesday’s and Thursday’s games during East Coast primetime are only available on League Pass. I understand the concerns about overexposure but it feels like a lost opportunity, especially given the fact that the Thunder are on the national broadcast on both Thursday and Saturday.
It’s been a while since we checked in on how much of an outlier this season has been with Golden State and San Antonio playing amazing basketball. They are still on pace to post the best combined regular season records in history by a wide margin. This is true even if you factor in their three remaining games against each other.