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?