Is Golden St. growing fatigued chasing good ranking in NBA odds boards and regular-season win record? Is this hurting their playoff chances? Maybe, but there's evidence to suggest otherwise.
Raise your hand if you've been burned on a wager in the last two weeks by a playoff-bound team resting a star player(s) at the last minute as a refresher for the postseason. Me. More than once, too. Whether it's LeBron, Durant, or Gregg Popovich choosing to give a night off to his entire starting five, most teams are doing it, except one: Golden State. Go through the article and also look at the NBA odds boards to back up the information you are being given.
The Warriors Are Chasing History
Looking to top the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls' single-season record of 72 wins. Going 24-0 to begin the year, also an NBA record for best start to the season, its been a topic of conversation, statistical analysis, and goal for the franchise. But is the team risking potential postseason success playing with the pedal to the metal every night? Nah.
After thrashing the Trail Blazers 136-111 on Sunday, the Warriors, 69-8 on the season, have five games remaining on their schedule and can only afford to lose one to break the record. They face the T-wolves at home, and then the Spurs and Grizzlies in alternating home-away series.
If the Warriors win out, the April 10 matchup in San Antonio may set up to be the most historically significant regular-season game in NBA history. Not only can a Warriors victory assure the regular-season record, but it would snap the Spurs' quest to be the first team in league history to go undefeated at home (47-game win streak). Every bettor and NBA fan should be rooting for this scenario to happen.
Are There Signs The Team Is Growing Tired?
Some think so. Since the All Star break, the team has looked “human” at times. Their average margin of victory has dipped to 8.0 points per game, down from 12.5 prior. Moreover, four of their eight losses have occurred since then (21-4).Their last loss, a 109-106 defeat to the Celtics at Oracle Center on Friday night, which snapped a 54-home win streak for Golden State, epitomizes their thinking. Steph Curry and company turned the ball over 22 times and gave away 30 free-throw attempts with some sloppy fouls. But there's little evidence to suggest this has been a chronic problem of late.
The Warriors, for example, have turned it over more than 20 times in seven games this season, only twice since the break. Ditto with sending teams to the line. Putting guys on the charity stripe a ton is nothing new, as they force teams to play at a breakneck pace. In fact, they've allowed 30 free throw attempts or more in 19 games, seven time coming after the All Star weekend. To put it a different way, Golden State has committed 25 fouls or more in 14 games, twice since the break.
As for resting players and injuries, Golden State is dealing with typical team ailments this time of year, nothing out of the ordinary, just like it did in last year's championship run. Curry's ankle is always a concern, the injury-prone Andrew Bogut is nursing a bad rib, and Andre Iguodala is working his way back from ankle problem. Overall wear and tear shouldn't be a concern.
The team's average age of 27.5 years is a little older the mean, but still younger than their two main postseason threats: the Spurs (31.6) and Cavaliers (29.1) who rank as the first and fourth oldest in the league respectively. Makes you sympathize with Poppovich's decisions, eh.
Looking at the post-All Star margin of victory dip more closely, the Warriors are still scoring in bunches. They've put up 114.8 per game since, opposed to 115.5 prior. Defensively, is where they've slipped, allowing 106.8 on 44.5 percent shooting since mid February versus 103.0 on 43.0 beforehand.
This isn't that troublesome. The new-look NBA, partly due to the influential direction Golden State has taken, is generating more points than in many years past (102.5 per night average). The “catch me if you can” strategy will likely win the Finals in an offensive-minded league.
Golden State is just reverting back to expectations and becoming an NBA pick. It still sits atop some ratings systems as the best team in NBA history, and should hold their own in the postseason—what they are achieving has been off the charts good. Four NBA teams have finished the regular season with a winning percentage above 84 percent, including the 76ers (1966-67), Lakers (1971-72), and Chicago Bulls twice (1995-96, 1996-97).
Each team has gone on to win the title. The kicker this season is that the Spurs (64-12) are historically good as well with a .842 win percentage. Something's gotta give.