The Golden State Warriors are eight wins away from breaking the longest winning streak in NBA history, but they will have to fight off a rising Indiana Pacers squad on Tuesday night to keep the streak alive.
Behind point guard and NBA leading scorer Stephen Curry’s 28 points, the Warriors pulled away from the Brooklyn Nets with a scintillating fourth quarter run for a 114-98 road win, their 26th straight dating back to last season. They are chasing the 1971-1972 Lakers' 33-game winning streak.
As of now, Curry and Co. need one more win to tie the 2012-2013 Miami Heat’s record of 27 straight wins for second-place on the list. After Indiana, the Warriors have four straight games against three teams that wouldn’t make the postseason if it started today but aren't pushovers.
The Pacers, enjoying the return of superstar Paul George, are currently 12-7 and fourth in the Eastern Conference despite dropping their last two games and stand as a formidable and capable foe as the Warriors turn the corner on a seven-game road trip. The Pacers have a 6-2 record at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
But if Golden State and reigning league MVP Curry can somehow get past Indiana, the Warriors schedule through most of December suggests they could challenge the Lakers' record.
Following the trip to Indiana,the Warriors have three days off before they head to Boston (11-9, tied for ninth in East), then on the very next night begin the first half of a home-and-home with Milwaukee (8-13, 12th), finally get back to the warm confines of Oracle Arena to host Phoenix (8-13, tied for 11th in West), and finish off the home-and-home with the Bucks. The Celtics and Bucks both have 6-4 home records.
Strangely, the Warriors may be tested more in the middle of their mid-December home stand than on the road. Phoenix and Milwaukee should be victories, but no game is a given in the NBA, and even if Golden State pushes the streak to 31 it has two very difficult opponents in the Utah Jazz on Dec. 23 and the defending Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James on Christmas Day.
The Jazz (9-9, seventh in the West) own the third-best defense in the NBA, allowing only 95.9 points per game and small forward and leading scorer Gordon Hayward could create some matchup problems for Golden State’s defense. And big men Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors will also present challenges.
But the real test, and perhaps biggest coincidence during the streak thus far, is the primetime date with James and the Cavs (13-7, 2nd), the very squad Golden State defeated in six games for last year’s title.
Cleveland’s stayed atop the East with James despite the absence of All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, and it’s one of the best defensive clubs in the league this season, ranking sixth overall with 97.6 points allowed per contest.
Should the streak still be alive, the Warriors can go for the all-time record against Sacramento (7-15), a team that’s played well in spurts and can send out point guard and defensive specialist Rajon Rondo to guard Curry.
Warriors Next Eight Games For Record
Tuesday, Dec. 8 at Indiana (12-7)
Friday, Dec. 11 at Boston (11-9)
Saturday, Dec. 12 at Milwaukee (8-13)
Wednesday, Dec. 16 Phoenix (8-13)
Friday, Dec. 18 Milwaukee (8-13)
Wednesday, Dec. 23 Utah (9-9)
Friday, Dec. 25 Cleveland (13-7)
Monday, Dec. 28 Sacramento (7-15)