The Golden State Warriors are one step closer to breaking the NBA’s single season wins record after winning their 56th game of the season, but they still have work to do before solidifying the No.1 spot in the Western Conference. The San Antonio Spurs trail them by 3.5 games in the standings with a 53-10 record.
San Antonio has quietly kept themselves in the race to earn home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. Prior to Monday’s loss to the Indiana Pacers, the Spurs had been defeated just once since the start of February. They’ve managed to post an even better home record than the Warriors, who have set the mark for most consecutive home wins dating back to last season. While Golden State is 27-0 at Oracle Arena this season, the Spurs are 30-0 in San Antonio.
It won’t be easy for the Spurs to surpass the Warriors, who lose less frequently than any team in NBA history. But San Antonio has a chance to ensure that Golden State loses at least nine times in the 2015-2016 season, since the two teams will meet three more times in the regular season, including two contests at AT&T Center.
San Antonio will have another advantage when they host Golden State. In both contests, the Warriors will be playing their second game of back-to-back contests. The Warriors, however, are 15-1 when playing on no days’ rest, and Stephen Curry’s numbers are almost identical to the statistics he’s put up the rest of the season.
The Spurs can’t play like they did in their only matchup with the Warriors this season. Without an injured Tim Duncan, San Antonio was embarrassed in Golden State, allowing Curry to score 37 points in a 120-90 loss.
It will be difficult for the Spurs to catch the Warriors if they don’t sweep their remaining head-to-head matchups. Golden State has won 45 straight home games, and they’ve got 14 home games remaining on their schedule compared to just six road games.
The Warriors’ remaining schedule is easier than that of the Spurs. Not including their games against San Antonio, Golden State has eight games left against teams that are currently in the postseason. The Spurs have 12 games left against playoff teams. The Warriors will play two of the NBA’s bottom-three teams, while the easiest remaining matchup for the Spurs comes against the Minnesota Timberwolves, who own the league’s fifth-best record.
After visiting Minnesota on Tuesday, San Antonio will have 10 consecutive games against playoff teams, though seven will come at home. Golden State’s toughest remaining stretch comes in April when they end the season with four games against the Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies.
Golden State has proven they can have off nights just like any other team, though they are few and far between. On Sunday, the Warriors were defeated by the Los Angeles Lakers in the most surprising result of the NBA season.
Of the Warriors’ six losses, only two have come against playoff teams, and Golden State is undefeated against teams that are at least three games over .500. San Antonio has only lost to two non-playoff teams, suffering losses to the NBA’s top five teams.