Warriors striving for 16-0 playoffs, but imaginations must be held in check

Warriors striving for 16-0 playoffs, but imaginations must be held in check

OAKLAND -- Even though they deny it at every turn, pointing to other factors, most of them justifiable, the fact remains the Warriors are 11 months removed from learning a harsh lesson about chasing history.

They stalked the NBA single-season wins record last season and got it, becoming the first team to post 73 victories.

Only to enter the record book two months later as the only team to take a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals and give it all back.

And here they are now, once again, staring at yet another opportunity to etch their names in the record book, this time for most consecutive wins in a single postseason.

This is a piece of history the Warriors have to chase. It’s the playoffs, they’re facing Games 3 and 4 of the Western Conference Finals in San Antonio and there is absolutely nothing to be gained from losing a game in May or June. Winning every game of a given postseason is the most impressive thing a team can do.

The Warriors have to go for it, because perfection in a given postseason is the most impressive feat any team can accomplish.

The Cavaliers, by the way, are racing toward the same goal -- and only one team can achieve it.

While Cleveland on Wednesday won its ninth consecutive game to open the playoffs, a 117-104 lashing of the Celtics, the Warriors are a game ahead in the vanity standings. They are 10-0 after sweeping Portland in the first round, sweeping Utah in the conference semifinals and going up 2-0 on San Antonio.

Only two teams have opened the playoffs with 11 consecutive wins, and both of them were Lakers. The Showtime Lakers did it in 1989 and the Shaq-Kobe Lakers did it in 2001.

That’s it. The Jordan Bulls never did it, the Bird Celtics never did it and the Bad Boy Pistons never did it. For crying out loud, even the Bill Russell Celtics never won more than six consecutive postseason games.

Neither have any of the many iterations of the Gregg Popovich Spurs, whose 1998-99 team does have the distinction of owning the longest win streak in a single postseason: 12.

That record, however, came with losses along the way, one in the first round and another while winning the NBA Finals in five games over the Knicks.

No team has opened the playoffs with a 12-game win streak. And no team has run the table, never a 4-4-4, much less a 4-4-4-4. The Warriors are six games away, the Cavaliers seven. And, yes, it’s conceivable that both could enter The Finals with 12-0 records for this postseason.

The Warriors have been the more dominating team, though, winning by an average of 17.0 points per game, the highest playoff-points differential in NBA history. They’ve become the super team many anticipated when future Hall of Fame forward Kevin Durant, in his prime, joined the 73-win Warriors.

Not long after the Game 2 victory Tuesday night, Stephen Curry was asked about the historical element and the record-book possibilities and whether this is something the Warriors might have floating about their heads.

“Not at all,” he said. “It's pretty easy not to think about that, if you know what I mean.”

Of course we know what he means. After last season and the journey that led to 73 wins, followed by the epic collapse, the Warriors are determined to stay on task and in the moment.

Even at 10-0, imaginations must be held in check.

History, however, beckons and the Warriors don’t have to talk about it in public, as they did their pursuit of 73. As much as they want it -- and there is no question they do -- this is a quiet quest, which is as it should be.

After all, what better than way to salve, once and for all, the lingering sting of last June than to come back with a perfect postseason?

With Warriors discussing the matter, Curry reaffirms White House stance

With Warriors discussing the matter, Curry reaffirms White House stance

OAKLAND -- About an hour after general manager Bob Myers said the defending champion Warriors would soon gather to determine their response to any potential invitation from the White House, Stephen Curry reiterated his personal views.

“I don’t want to go,” Curry said during Media Day on Friday.

Curry has previously stated this position, one he shares with several teammates. Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala also have expressed no interest in visiting President Donald Trump. David West has made clear his distaste for Trump’s boorish conduct.

But Curry has thought not only about the subject but also how he reached his conclusion.

“That we don't stand for basically what our president has -- the things that he said and the things that he hasn't said in the right terms -- that we won't stand for it,” he said. “And by acting and not going, hopefully that will inspire some change when it comes to what we tolerate in this country and what is accepted and what we turn a blind eye to.

“It's not just the act of not going. There are things you have to do on the back end to actually push that message into motion. You can talk about all the different personalities that have said things and done things, from (Colin) Kaepernick to what happened to (Michael) Bennett to all sorts of examples of what has gone on in our country that we need to kind of change. And we all are trying to do what we can, using our platforms, using our opportunities to shed light on that.”

Officially, the Warriors have made no firm decision. They will discuss the matter in the coming day in hopes of reaching a consensus.

Though Curry understands the final decision will be made every consulting with every voice in the locker room -- including coach Steve Kerr, who also has been critical of Trump -- he’s unwavering about his personal stance.

“It's not just me going to the White House. If it were, this would be a pretty short conversation,” he said.

“Like I said, it's the organization; it's the team. And it's hard to say because I don't know exactly what we're going to do in lieu of or if we do go or if we don't go or whatever.

“But my beliefs stay the same. I'll have a better answer for that once I can kind of understand where the group is, too.”

While Iguodala passed on delivering his stance, citing that he had been prepped on the subject by the team’s media relations staff, Durant -- like Curry -- said he has to take the opinions of his teammates into consideration.

“It's going to be tough to change my mind,” Durant said, “but we're going to talk about it as a team and figure out the next steps from there.”

West did not divulge his decision, opting to firmly state he “will let everybody know my opinion” once the team meets on the subject.


Thunder GM takes high road in response to Durant's Twitter gaffe, harsh words

Thunder GM takes high road in response to Durant's Twitter gaffe, harsh words


Kevin Durant didn't mean to lampoon the Thunder, later deleting the tweets, but he said what he said

Asked about Durant on Friday and Thunder GM Sam Prestie took the high road. 

"I think the only thing I can say to that is just to be consistent with everything that I have said and everyone else from the organization," Presti said. "I, and no one from the Thunder, really has anything negative to say about Kevin Durant, and I think we've been hopefully very open about the fact that we have tremendous appreciation and respect for what he and his teammates and coaches and everybody over his tenure here accomplished, and I really don't think there's anything more to say than that."

Durant called the actions "childish" and "idiotic" and said that his actions have impacted his sleep cycles and eating habits.

The Warriors first face the Thunder on Wednesday, Nov. 22 in Oklahoma City.