The Warriors opened as 5-7 favorites to defend their NBA title. Evidently, the oddsmakers don’t buy the idea that chasing 73 victories made them ripe for postseason plucking.
The record wasn’t a distraction. It maintained their edge. When they got to 68 wins with seven to play, I saw it as an early playoff series, except they had to win five out of seven instead of four. They lost two of the first three, forcing them to sweep four to get the record. No problem. It reminded me of the Western and NBA Finals a year ago, when the Warriors went down 1-2 and didn’t lose again.
It won’t be a shock if they struggle early in a series again. Steph Curry and Co. thrive on challenges, and public doubt. When they get on a roll, they’re impossible to stop. Fatigue? This isn’t the Spurs, who get mail from AARP. Golden State is deep and well-rested. Curry barely played in fourth quarters this season. There aren’t many back-to-backs in the playoffs. Teams often get two days off between games to accommodate TV.
Don’t tell me about tired. What’s tired is the idea that breaking a record could compromise the run to a championship. In this case, it fueled it.