Oakland, CA - At some point the Los Angeles Clippers will be a threat but not right now. The Warriors cruised to a 114-98 win over the Clippers last night. While many think resting Golden State's starters is a good idea before the playoffs, head coach Steve Kerr feels differently as they seek 73 wins.
"I've maintained all along we're trying to get the one seed," said Kerr. "That's a really important deal for us. We're not there yet, it's the players who are setting the record. It's not the organization, so they will absolutely have some say in matters down the stretch in terms of how we approach everything."
Despite most teams giving their starters a break as the season comes to an end, Kerr wants to keep the San Antonio Spurs at a distance since they are four games back. Securing that top No. 1 seed in the West is now important for the Warriors. Going for the Chicago Bulls 73-10 record will mark another fete for the organization.
However, during the same year that the Bulls set the record and won the NBA championship, head coach Phil Jackson did rest his starters before the regular season ended. Golden State risks possible fatigue and injuries by not doing so. But MVP Stephen Curry stated that the team wants to move at the same pace they have all season.
"For us, we don't want to limp into the playoffs," Curry said. "We want to continue to play better and fine-tune on both sides of the ball, our execution. We want to continue to establish winning habits and a winning mentality as you go into the playoffs."
After last night's win, the Warriors look anything but tired. Curry finished with 33 points while Klay Thompson added 32 points on seven 3's. Golden State recorded their 51st straight regular-season home game, improving to 33-0 this season. The Clippers are still without Blake Griffin who is expected to return before the season ends.
The Clippers were cold from the line, everywhere. DeAndre Jordan was the only factor, he went 7-for-10 with 19 points and 20 rebounds. Both Chris Paul and J.J. Redick combined for 22 points. Paul was 4-for-16 while Redick was 4-for-13. An unusual night for both point guards but when playing the Warriors, you can't miss.
"I think it's going to be tough for us to win if me and J.J. can't throw it in the ocean," said Paul. "We had a lot of shots we would love to have over again. They didn't go down tonight."
In the meantime, Golden State will now focus on their next opponent while keeping a close eye on the Spurs who will return to Oracle Arena on April 7th. The last time these two teams met, San Antonio figured out how to stop Curry and his supporting cast. In fact, these top two teams in the league, have been the best regular season match-ups in the last seven years.
The Warriors know what's at stake in not resting guys. But this is a team with resilience. And despite the reigning MVP who has put up astronomical numbers this season, Thompson and Draymond Green can add fire as well. Not to mention Golden State has a bench that can match-up with any team or any starting five. The remaining eleven games won't be easy but the Warriors will be ready.
"Could a couple of our guys use a little mental rest and take a night off? Probably," said Kerr. "But I wouldn't do that at the expense of losing games and possibly losing the 1 seed."