OAKLAND -– Can the Warriors get to 73 wins? We’ll have lot better idea very soon.
Though it’s only a three-game road trip that begins Saturday in Detroit, the competition is rugged enough that the Warriors upon returning home next week will have a clue if setting a record for wins in a season is realistic.
Anything less than a sweep of games in Detroit (Saturday), Cleveland (Monday) and Chicago (Wednesday) would make it exceedingly difficult for the Warriors to get the 73 wins required to surpass the NBA record 72 set by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls.
“It’s going to be a grind,” Warriors point guard Stephen Curry said. “We just came off a three-game road trip last week. We’ve played a lot of games in a row, so you’ve got to be ready. And they’re very capable teams that will definitely test us if we’re not ready to go.”
This Warriors trip is particularly significant as a barometer because it’s the first road trip of the season in which all three opponents –- Pistons, Cavaliers and Bulls -– own winning records.
“It’s obviously hard to win on the road, especially (against) three playoff teams,” Curry said. “You have to be ready. Fatigue can’t be a factor or an excuse. You have to focus on execution on the defensive end, which has been OK for us but we can get better. That’ll hopefully carry is through this trip.”
The Warriors will take a 37-3 record onto the court at the Palace of Auburn Hills. They would need to go 36-6 the rest of the season to eclipse the Bulls’ mark, which stands as the only time an NBA team has reached the 70-win level.
The catch is that the Warriors’ schedule from this weekend through the second half of the season is significantly tougher. They’ll see the Spurs for the first time on Jan. 25 and three more times after that. They also face the Thunder in three weeks and twice more later in the season. They also get their SoCal pals, the Clippers twice.
More immediately, though, are games against strong Eastern Conference teams. The Cavs (28-10) are atop the conference, while the Bulls (23-16) – who the Warriors must face twice – are third. The Pistons (21-18) currently are seventh.
“You get juiced up a little bit, more so, for teams that you know are good teams,” backup point guard Shaun Livingston said. “We’re on the road. It’s a good challenge for us. This team responds well to challenges.”
Coming home 40-3 would require superb basketball. It’s a daunting undertaking. But it would make 73-9 much more conceivable.