One shot at history was ended, the other is now set for Wednesday. Coming into Sunday night, the San Antonio Spurs had won their first 39 home games. No team has ever gone undefeated at home for a regular season. The Golden State Warriors, meanwhile, needed one more win to tie the 1996 Chicago Bulls’ mark with 72 wins.
On Wednesday, at home against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Warriors will have the chance to secure the best regular-season record in NBA history.
The fourth matchup between the two presumptive Western Conference finalists was a defensive battle that went into halftime tied at 35. The Spurs, playing without Tim Duncan and Boris Diaw, controlled the pace. But the Warriors’ shooters heated up in the second half, and San Antonio didn’t have quite enough offensive firepower to match.
What do you possibly do about this?
Understandably, Gregg Popovich didn’t take this game very seriously. Only two Spurs players (Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge) played more than 30 minutes. Even with the perfect home record at stake, he isn’t going to show his hand in the regular season.
Which makes the all-but-inevitable playoff series between these two teams all that much more exciting. The previous two Warriors wins were blowouts, but Diaw (who didn’t play in the last two) gives the Spurs the kind of versatility needed to beat this Warriors team.
One thing is for sure: however their series ends, nobody knows what it’s going to look like. We haven’t seen these two teams compete against each other at full strength, and that’s by design. And it makes the upcoming playoffs all the more impossible to miss.