Will the Golden State Warriors Win 73 Games?
Whether you watched the game, caught the box score or just read a few beats on it today, you know that, last night, the Warriors truly proved that they are a force of basketball nature that might not be stopped.
Tim Duncan or no Tim Duncan, I'm not sure that last night's 120-90 butt-whooping of the Spurs would have gone any better for Gregg Popovich and company.
The Warriors passed, shot and defended like no team I have ever seen.
In the four quarters of play, they tallied a total of 31 assists on 51.8% from the field and 42.3% from beyond the arc, but the game was well over by the end of the third quarter, as the Warriors built a 29-point lead prior to resting Stephen Curry and the rest of the wrecking crew.
People can tell you that it was just another win in the lefthand column, but that's so far from the truth. What it did was re-establish the dominance of the Warriors and put a statement out to all others that the title of champs is theirs to keep.
It also brought back up the '95 Bulls and whether or not the Warriors could possibly reach the 73-win plateau, or even pass it by the end of the season. Each commentator seems like he or she has their own opinion as to whether they will reach it, or if they should even try to (in the name of resting players for the playoffs).
What do our models think?
They might not be able to tell us whether or not Golden State should go for it -- because that's a question of pride and many other human elements -- but the numbers would suggest that history is out of reach for Steve Kerr's bunch.
We project the Warriors to finish with just under 67 wins (with roughly 15 losses, of course), a record that would place them fourth in NBA regular season history.
Per our Chief Analyst, Keith Goldner, the Warriors have just a 2.8 percent chance to hit the 73-win plateau.
Why no love for a historical run you might ask?
A lot of this comes down to the Warriors' remaining schedule, which is not the easiest to fly through.
It includes 18 meetings with teams currently slotted for a playoff spot, eight of which take place away from the friendly confines of Oracle Arena, where the Dubs are 21-0 on the season compared to their record of 20-4 on the road.
Another thing to note on that matter is that, in the span of eight days, they'll face off against four almost surefire playoff teams (the Clippers, Hawks, Heat, and Thunder) amidst a seven-game road trip in late February.
That will be a tough gauntlet to make it through unscathed, especially when you see that the Thunder linger at the very end of that road trip. It's hard to see them coming out with fewer than one loss -- if they are fully healthy, that is.
And if you look further down the road, to the very end of the regular season, you can see that Golden State will play their last four games at home against San Antonio, at Memphis, at San Antonio and then at home against Memphis to conclude their epic season. That will be a particularly rough week of action as the Warriors will face the task of overcoming the slower paces of both the Grizzlies and the Spurs.
But on the bright side, the Warriors do have five whole losses to play with in order to tie the Bulls' 72-10 record set 20 seasons ago. They have also defied many odds and proven doubters wrong in the past -- not to mention this season.
Oh! And they have Stephen Curry -- part man, part machine.