OAKLAND – The ancient sports platitude “one game at a time” has never been more accurate for the Warriors than it will be on Wednesday night.
As the subject of possibly winning an NBA-record 73 games has drifted from the back of their minds to the front of international sports discussion, the Warriors finally are embracing it with single-minded purpose.
“You can’t not talk about it at his point,” Draymond Green said after practice Tuesday. “The whole world is talking about it now.”
One more win would give them 73, and the occasion to achieve that record comes in the very next game, Wednesday night, which also happens to be the final game of the regular season.
For this one night, it’s the actual playoffs, that arrive this weekend, which lurk in the back of their minds.
“We have an opportunity to do something that’s never been done in history,” Stephen Curry said. “So many great players have suited up since the NBA began, and for us 15 guys to be able to say we’ve accomplished something as a group that’s never been done before, that’s remarkable.
“We earned the right to have a 48-minute game to eclipse that mark and we have to go out and finish the job.”
Standing in the way are the Memphis Grizzlies, a barbed-wire fence of a team that seems to be in denial of its severely diluted roster. They bumped and scratched and annoyed the Warriors for the entirety of their game last Saturday night in Memphis before the Warriors escaped with a 100-99 victory.
Oracle Arena, however, will provide a very different atmosphere. The place will be packed and buzzing with folks who fully realize this is a rare chance to see an accomplishment that may never come again.
“We love our fans here,” said Luke Walton, who presided over practice as Steve Kerr kept a doctor’s appointment, “and to try to break a record like this one and do it in front of them, that makes it that much more special.”
The Chicago Bulls' NBA-record 72-10 mark was set 20 years ago. No team during the interim has won more than 67, which the Warriors accomplished last season.
“Just to have this opportunity to possibly set an all-time record, just the way everything has worked out,” Green said. “It would’ve been cool to take care of the games we were supposed to take care of and have it already out of the way. But the way this thing has played out, to be at home, with one shot at it, it’s pretty amazing.”
Pursuit of a prize does come at a cost. The Warriors last Thursday locked up the No. 1 seed and last Sunday broke the Curse of San Antonio, winning a regular-season game there for the first time since 1997.
They would, under normal circumstance, be resting starters and prepping for the postseason.
“Right now, we should be only focused on the playoffs and winning a championship,” Walton said. “And as much as we want to say that’s where our focus is, I don’t think that’s possible until this last, um, whatever happens – tie the record or break the record – is over.”