With just eight days remaining in the 2015-2016 NBA regular season, the Golden State Warriors are on the cusp of making history. Going 69-8 through 77 games, the defending champs are in a great position to set the all-time wins record.
Golden State is just three wins away from tying the mark set by the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls, who went 72-10 before winning their first of three consecutive championships. Four of the Warriors’ final five games are against playoff teams, but their schedule is easier than it might seem.
It would be surprising if Golden State doesn’t become the second team ever to reach 70 wins on Tuesday night. They’ll host the 25-52 Minnesota Timberwolves, who are 15.5-point underdogs at Las Vegas sportsbooks. The Warriors are 2-0 against the Timberwolves this season, winning both games in Minnesota. The Wolves have lost three games in a row by double-digits.
The final four games are tougher, as Golden State closes the season with two games apiece against the San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies. Memphis still has a lot to play for, but San Antonio should be on cruise control until the start of the playoffs.
The Spurs are all but guaranteed to be the No.2 seed in the Western Conference with a 64-12 record. Since they can’t improve their position in the standings, coach Gregg Popovich is expected to rest his starters against Golden State. San Antonio has already begun preparing for the postseason, sitting LaMarcus Aldridge, Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan against the Oklahoma City Thunder last week. The same could happen in both games against the Warriors, whom the Spurs are likely to meet in the Western Conference Finals.
San Antonio hosts Golden State on April 10, and they’ve gone 39-0 at home this year. The Spurs beat the Warriors in San Antonio just a few weeks ago, holding them to just 79 points.
Golden State plays two of their last three games against Memphis, who still hasn’t clinched a postseason berth. At 41-36, they are three games ahead of the No.9 seed Houston Rockets, and they are fighting to remain the No.5 seed and avoid a first-round matchup with either the Warriors or Spurs.
The Grizzlies managed to take a 2-1 series lead over the Warriors in last year’s playoffs, before losing three straight games. Golden State, however, is 2-0 against Memphis this season, beating them by 50 points in their first matchup. Nine days later, the Warriors won by 16 points in Memphis.
ESPN’s Basketball Power Index gives Golden State a 90 percent chance of winning at least 72 games, and a 55 percent chance of getting at least 73 victories.
Tuesday, April 5 vs. Minnesota Timberwolves, 10:30 p.m. ET (TNT)
Thursday, April 7 vs. San Antonio Spurs, 10:30 p.m. ET (TNT)
Saturday, April 9 at Memphis Grizzlies, 8 p.m. ET (CNS Bay Area, FOX Sports TN)
Sunday, April 10 at San Antonio Spurs, 10:30 p.m. ET (NBATV)
Wednesday, April 13 vs. Memphis Grizzlies, 10:30 p.m. ET (CNS Bay Area, FOX Sports TN)