Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Tonight's Challenge (Update: Met!)

As the season record gets closer, Golden State Warriors are doing what is expected of a great team--winning against inferior opponents at home.  (Although as more teams adopt their style of play, no game is safe.)  In a few hours they face one of the remaining obvious tests: less than 24 hours after their home victory Tuesday, they are playing in a different time zone and altitude, in Utah.  If they win this game, the record comes more than a game nearer.

After the game....

The Warriors victory over the Jazz in overtime may be their most significant win in months.  This was not only one of their biggest remaining tests of the regular season run at the record (and possibly their biggest), it may be their last playoff preview.

This is especially true if--as Tony Parker is saying--coach Popovich rests his starters in the remaining two Spurs games with the Warriors.  (Cautioning that such player statements have been tactical misdirections before. If the Spurs are still undefeated at home when the Warriors arrive, I don't see them giving that game away.)

This game showed two things.  The first is the basis of everything: the Warriors as a team have no significant weaknesses in their game. (Of course this game was not the first time this was exhibited.)  They can play defense, they can score in every way, they rebound, they steal, they block shots and they make their foul shots. They can protect the ball (though there have been more games lately when turnovers were higher than they should be.) And they are, as Steve Kerr likes to say, very competitive.  They will exploit any weakness of the other team.

The second is that even though they were playing at Utah altitude after getting there at 4 a.m. from a tough game at home, and were probably physically as well as mentally weary, they pulled up from their reserves the skills and effort to win.  The game in regulation was uneven, but they ran away with overtime--especially Steph Curry.  He wore the Utah defenses down.

 It all bodes well for the playoffs, and, oh yeah, the Record. It was their 68th win, the most in franchise history, one game shy of the Lakers record that the Bulls broke.  They can tie that one on Friday when the Boston Celtics come to Oracle Arena--a streaky team that's got a pretty good record, coming in for their second of a road back to back.

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