(Reuters) - The defending champion Golden State Warriors are closing in on the best record in NBA history and the team have every intention of pursuing the mark rather than resting players in preparation for another Finals push.
Golden State (64-7) are a game ahead of the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls’ pace in their 72-10 campaign and, after weeks of evasion, Warriors coach Steve Kerr has declared his team’s plan for the final 11 games of the regular season.
“It’s really the players’ record. I know they want to get it. So we’ll act accordingly,” Kerr said before Golden State won their 51st consecutive regular-season home game on Wednesday and improved to 33-0 this season at Oracle Arena.
Despite rolling through the season the Warriors have work to do to hold off the San Antonio Spurs (60-11) and secure the top seed in the Western Conference and home court advantage through the NBA Finals should they make it that far.
While there are risks to chasing a record that guarantees nothing for the playoffs, Kerr called the opportunity “enticing” and said he has no intention of having the Warriors take their proverbial foot off the gas pedal.
Golden State are led by reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green and while Kerr admitted that some players could use some mental rest he will not get in the way of their shot at history.
“If the players want to go and they’re fine physically, we’ll probably play them,” said Kerr who was a reserve player on the 1995-96 Bulls team that went on to win the NBA championship.
“Fortunately right now that goal of going for the one seed goes hand in hand with the record that everyone wants to talk about so we are able to just keep trying to win.”
Players on the team are eager to enter the playoffs at the top of their game with a winning mentality rather than risk getting out of sync.
Curry, who is averaging a league-high 30.1 points per game this season, said sitting out and watching games is “boring” and that he has no plans of taking a break.
“We don’t want to limp into the playoffs,” said Curry, who has started all but three of Golden State’s games this season. “We want to continue to establish winning habits and a winning mentality as you go into the playoffs.”
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Steve Keating