Trouble in Oakland? The Golden State Warriors, who have dominated the NBA all season, recently dropped two games at home to the Boston Celtics and Minnesota Timberwolves. Those defeats are major setbacks to their chances of passing the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls for best regular season record of all time. They have had their eyes set on this goal all season. Will the Warriors be able to pull it out with a four games left?
Barresi: I don't think the Warriors are going to get it done. I didn't think they were going to get it done before the Minnesota loss. They couldn't afford that. They have four games in the next seven days including two against the San Antonio Spurs, a team sports media icon Bill Simmons describes as, "The best second-best team of all time." Those Spurs games are going to be very challenging, I see the Spurs taking at least one if not both.
They're certainly capable of taking both. The Memphis Grizzlies are the other team the Warriors have left and they're nothing to sneeze at either. They're currently fifth in the West but with Portland right on their tail they'll be playing all out. Plus, if the Warriors can lose to the Timberwolves, who are 13th, they can be beaten by Memphis. I wouldn't call it likely, but the first Grizzlies game in Memphis, could catch Golden State looking ahead to the second Spurs game, and the Grizzlies could steal one.
Kamal: With four games left, the Warriors chances of winning out and grabbing the best record in NBA history look slim. ESPN is giving them a 14 percent chance of achieving the record. The Warriors are going to be fuming after losing two of their last three games, with both losses coming at home. Not to forget, Andre Iguodala is back from his ankle injuries, giving the Warriors some better health. The Warriors should have no problem knocking down the Grizzlies, having beaten them by an average of 33 points in their first two games.
The Spurs, on the other hand, are not likely to beat the Warriors in Oakland. When it comes down to the Warriors’ second game against San Antonio, there’s a good chance that the Spurs rest their starters, knowing that the chances of grabbing the top seed will be likely gone. The Warriors have been the best team in the NBA this season, and their two most recent losses could serve as a wake-up call as they mentally prepare for the playoffs.
Barresi: That is definitely true. The Spurs are going to have to make a conscious effort to prevent this from happening. I also question the Warriors commitment to getting it done. They seem pretty exhausted as well. The other day after the Timberwolves loss, Draymond Green conceded they were ready for the regular season to end. The Western Conference is going to be a gauntlet, and the Warriors clearly want this record. But they definitely have the future in mind as well. Head coach Steve Kerr has certainly had to have considered giving his starters a rest as well, or else risk putting his squad at a disadvantage going forward. I wouldn't be surprised if that was in the plans before the Celtics and Timberwolves defeats. I think the Celtics and Timberwolves' victories definitely have to give both the Spurs and Grizzlies a boost of confidence as well, showing Golden State is beatable at home. The Warriors seem to be in a vulnerable state on the court and even behind the scenes right now. I think the Spurs are too good of a team to not take advantage of that. But the Warriors are the class of the league this season and it's right there in front of them, it will be interesting to if they can get it done.
Kamal: I think that, although the Spurs have a legitimate shot at the top seed, head coach Gregg Popovich trusts in his team's ability to be able to rest them and keep them fresh heading into the playoffs. I can't see the Warriors losing to the Grizzlies, and expect them to get their swagger back as they take on the Spurs' starters in the first of their last four games. By the second matchup, Golden State will have clinched the top seed and San Antonio will sleepwalk to the finish line. It's hard to look at the Warriors and expect them to lose again in the regular season
The Warriors have the talent but will they have they drive and a little bit of luck to become record holders? Either way, with the two teams in the league battling twice down the stretch with NBA history on the line, it should be an exciting finish to the season.