OAKLAND – The Warriors continue to resist preoccupation with their win total, even as outsiders tend to fixate on those startling numbers.
Point guard and team leader Stephen Curry knows their record, barely, but on Tuesday expressed utter ignorance of their latest win streak.
“We’re doing all right,” he said after practice. “We’ve got three straight wins and . . . three straight wins? Four straight wins? Four?
“I don’t even know.”
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Actually, the latest win streak is at seven, which is nowhere near the 24-game roll on which the Warriors started the season.
The overall win total is at 36, halfway to the hallowed record total of 72 that the Chicago Bulls achieved in 1995-96. The Warriors’ record, 36-2, has them “on pace” to go 77-5.
Which would be ludicrous if they weren’t already 36-2.
Thus the fixation, despite the fact the Warriors have consistently made it clear that wins totals are insignificant in their attempts to stay healthy in hopes of repeating as champions.
“Even the 72-10 thing . . . once I got to the NBA, I realized how incredible that was, what the Bulls did,” interim coach Luke Walton said. “It’s just such a long season. With the road trips and the schedules and just having off nights, it’s really hard to constantly win at that percentage.
“I didn’t think this would be possible, to be 36-2 right now. But it’s happening, so we’re going to enjoy it.”
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Enjoying it while ignoring it seems to be the objective within the franchise. Accept, but do not digest. Notice, but do not stare.
Above all, do not project to the future.
“You try not to,” Curry said. “But we’ll get asked about that for the rest of the year. What would it be like to win 72 or 73 games? Can we break the record? So we’ll think about it in that respect.”
That much is unavoidable. Winning at a record pace begets a Record Watch.
Precisely that happened earlier, as the Warriors shattered the previous record for most wins to start a season. Win No. 16 was the record-breaker, but the gathering crowds grew larger and louder, with accompanying media, along the route.
“They should embrace and enjoy the ride that they’re on,” Walton said of the players. “We’re obviously trying to win a championship, ultimately, but you have to enjoy the process. And I think our guys do, which is why we’re 36-2.”
There was, perhaps, a lesson learned during the early-season process – just as there was last season, as they rewrote the franchise record book for wins. Keep it real.
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“You try to stay in the moment, and just like we did last year when we get to the finish line and if maybe that record is within grasp, and go after it since we’re there,” Curry said. “But we can’t fast-forward and try and double-up our record now and get 72-4. That would be great, but who knows what will happen? You’ve just got to stay in the moment and control what you can control right now.”
And right now, it’s the Spurs (32-6) that matter. As do the Cavaliers (26-9). If reaching the 72-win mark seems so distant, it’s partly because it is and partly because the schedule is about to get tougher.
The Warriors play the Spurs four times, the Thunder three times, the Clippers and Bulls twice each. They still must go to Cleveland and Miami and Atlanta.
Matching the ‘96 Bulls may be achievable, but it’s still unlikely.
“You can draw similarities and differences between us and them,” Curry said. “But their story is already written and we all know what they were able to accomplish. We’re just getting started.”