The best overall start and longest road winning streak to begin an NBA season have already been added to the Golden State Warriors’ historic list of accomplishments, and they’re moving closer to the longest run the league has ever seen.
On Saturday night in Milwaukee, they can do something no one has ever pulled off.
Fatigued as they may be, the Warriors face the Bucks trying to become the first team to sweep a road trip of at least seven games as they look to make it 29 straight regular-season victories before heading back to the Bay Area.
It’s been 2 1/2 weeks since Golden State (24-0) set the NBA record for the best start at 16-0 and four days since they broke the 1969-70 New York Knicks’ mark for the best road start in Indiana with their 13th consecutive victory away from home.
That tied the Warriors for the second-longest winning streak in league history at 27, but separating themselves from that mark was perhaps their toughest challenge yet.
Even with Klay Thompson out due to a sprained right ankle and Harrison Barnes still missing because of a sprain to his left, Golden State overcame its first sub-40 percent shooting effort in 53 regular-season games to outlast Boston 124-119 in double overtime.
“We will definitely cherish this, because it doesn’t happen often,” center Andrew Bogut said. “The record, the history, the team – it doesn’t happen often so we will cherish it. Who knows? Next year you could be on a different team and nobody’s talking about you.”
Only one Warrior all season had topped 42 minutes in a game – Stephen Curry in a November OT win over Brooklyn – but the reigning MVP (47), Draymond Green (50) and Andre Iguodala (44) all got there Friday. The bench could be asked to log major minutes in Milwaukee, particularly if Thompson remains out.
“Now I can admit I’m tired,” Curry said. “We’ll dig deep for (Saturday).”
A victory in Milwaukee would give the Warriors a record as improbable as anything they’ve done. No team in NBA history has gone 7-0 or better on a single road trip.
The Bucks (9-15) should be relatively well rested after Friday’s 90-83 regulation loss in Toronto, but they’ll be playing their sixth game in nine days. They’ll have Sunday and Monday off before beginning a four-games-in-six-days trip that includes a visit to Golden State on Friday.
Milwaukee is averaging 89.1 points in its last eight games.
“We have to play a complete game,” Khris Middleton said. “We can’t take quarters, minutes, plays off. … Our margin of error is very small right now, so we can’t have any lapses.”
Milwaukee is 4-1 concluding back-to-backs, though the opponents – Brooklyn and Denver twice along with New York – have left a bit to be desired.
If the Bucks hope to have a chance, they’ll likely attempt to slow the Warriors down. Milwaukee games average the second-fewest possessions (95.29 per 48 minutes) in the league while Golden State plays at the third-fastest pace (101.74).
The Warriors, however, might welcome a less-frenetic tempo in their final contest before hopping a plane and heading home to begin a five-game homestand Wednesday.
Another poor shooting effort – Golden State hit 29 percent from long distance against the Celtics – seems unlikely, even with some tired legs. The Warriors shot below 35 percent from 3 five times prior to Friday, and they shot better than 50 beyond the arc in their next game four times.
Golden State has won 17 of 19 back-to-backs since last Christmas, and Curry has been fantastic in its six this season. He averages 32.8 points and is a 56.1 percent shooter with no rest, and his team’s 117.7 points per game in those situations is 10.1 better than anyone else.
The Warriors have won four straight against Milwaukee and topped 50 percent in the last three.
If you’re a Comcast subscriber in the Bay Area, you can stream tonight’s Warriors-Bucks game here.