The Golden State Warriors (71-9) are one victory away from equaling the NBA’s single-season record of 72 wins. But the San Antonio Spurs (65-14), the only team comparable to the Warriors all season, stand in their way as the Western Conference powers clash for the second time in four days Sunday night at the AT&T Center.
Thanks to forward Draymond Green’s tip-in with less than a minute remaining, the Warriors outlasted the Memphis Grizzlies 100-99 on Saturday, giving Golden State it’s first chance at tying the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls and their record 72-10 mark in the regular season.
Should they prevail over San Antonio, the Warriors will face Memphis again in the regular season finale for a chance at surpassing Chicago's all-time mark.
Green led the Warriors in scoring with 23 points and pulled down 11 rebounds, filling in for presumed MVP Stephen Curry and shooting guard Klay Thompson as both struggled from the floor. Curry went 7-for-22 from the field for 17 points, but added eight assists and nine rebounds. He and Thompson were lacking long-range touch, going a combined 5-for-24 from beyond the arc.
Altogether, Golden State shot 27.8 percent from three-point range, but despite the shooting woes head coach Steve Kerr stuck to his plan of limiting his stars minutes before the playoffs. Green, Curry, and Thompson played no more than 35 minutes against Memphis, which likely keeps the Warriors fresh as they prep to face a Spurs team that’s yet to lose at home this season.
If not for the Warriors run at greatness, the Spurs incredible season would’ve received far more praise. San Antonio is a perfect 39-0 at home this season, two losses better than Golden State, and it is one of only nine teams to beat the Warriors this season.
Led by forward Kawhi Leonard, the Spurs are second only to the Warriors in three-point shooting as a team, knocking down 38 percent of their deep attempts and their offense is ninth in the league with 103.9 points per game while allowing opponents to score a league-best 92.9 a contest.
However, San Antonio did have a hiccup after Thursday’s loss to the Warriors. The Spurs fell to Denver on the road, 102-98, the first time they’ve suffered back-to-back losses all season.
Representing one of the biggest matchups in league history, the two teams own the best records in the NBA but their games this season have been unusually one-sided with the home team always prevailing.
Golden State took the first game 120-90 as Curry scored 37 points at the Oracle on Jan. 25, but when the season series shifted back to San Antonio forward LaMarcus Aldridge poured in 26 points and snatched 13 rebounds in a 87-79 win on March 19. It still stands as the lowest point-total for Golden State all season.
Yet the Warriors bounced back on Thursday behind Curry’s game-high 27 points and nine assists, while Aldridge went 5-for-16 from the floor for 11 points and only three rebounds. The Warriors were especially aggressive on the glass, winning the rebounding battle, 43-32.
For those who don’t subscribe to NBA TV, the channel is offering a free preview for fans to watch the Warriors attempt at history.
Start Time: 7 p.m. ET
TV Channel: NBA TV
Live Stream: NBA League Pass
Betting Odds: San Antonio -5.5
Over/Under: 205 points