Steve Kerr has not gone the full Popovich with resting members of the Golden State Warriors down the stretch — Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson are still out there every game. To many, that would constitute a push to get to 73 wins and break the 1996 Jordan Bulls record of 72 wins.
Kerr doesn’t see it that way.
Sam Amick did for the USA Today asked Kerr about it, and the coach denied this is a push for 73.
“We’re not really pushing for this,” Kerr, whose Warriors (69-8) must win four of their final five games to best the 72-10 mark set by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls squad on which he played a pivotal part, told USA TODAY Sports after practice Monday. “All we’ve said is, ‘Yeah, it’d be nice to get. We’d like to get it.’
“But if I were pushing for it, I probably wouldn’t be resting (backup point guard) Shaun Livingston and (center Andrew) Bogut, and I’d be playing our starters more. We’re just playing it out. I don’t understand if people are going to say that we’re pushing for this. I don’t think that’s the right word to use. We’d like to get it, but we’re still resting people and trying to get us set up for the playoffs.”
Kerr has said before he has a deal with his players: He will not force them to sit out a game and they can go after the mark — which they want — but they must be honest with him about injuries or being tired and needing a night off. Kerr has admitted that going after the record and the constant attention to it/questions about it has been somewhat mentally draining, but he thinks his team can handle it.
What would be interesting is if the Warriors win their next three games and were 72-8 they would go to break the record next Sunday at San Antonio, where the Spurs have yet to lose a game this season.
The best story in Amick’s story — which you should read — comes with Kerr’s joking exchange with former fellow 1996 Bull Luc Longley.
“He had a great line,” said a smiling Kerr, whose Warriors host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday before facing the San Antonio Spurs and the Memphis Grizzlies twice apiece in the final four games. “He said ‘You know, you haven’t thought this through obviously.’ And I said, ‘What do you mean?’ And he said, ‘Your coaching legacy is already established. You won a championship, so people are going to know down the road that you were a good coach. But as a player, you were mediocre at best. So if you break this record and you don’t have that record as a player, nobody’s ever going to remember you as a player, so what are you thinking?’ And I said, ‘Are you talking about you or me, Luc?’ He said, ‘both.’”