Kerr 'confused' after 70th win

Golden State's Stephen Curry driving to the basket against San Antonio's Kevin Martin during the third quarter at the Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Spurs 112-101 and became just the second team in NBA history after the Chicago Bulls to win
Golden State's Stephen Curry driving to the basket against San Antonio's Kevin Martin during the third quarter at the Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Spurs 112-101 and became just the second team in NBA history after the Chicago Bulls to win 70 games in the regular season.PHOTO: REUTERS

Warriors coach inclined to rest players but team want to strive for season wins record

OAKLAND (California) • Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr insists his team accomplished their primary goal for the 2015-16 regular season on Thursday by clinching the home-court advantage throughout the National Basketball Association (NBA) play-offs.

Now comes the dessert, and Kerr is not sure he wants to indulge.

"We're going to talk about it," he said of the Warriors' approach to pursuing the single-season wins record following a 112-101 victory over the San Antonio Spurs.

"I'm confused."

The confusion is over whether the Warriors (70-9) should go all out in their final three games, needing a sweep to beat the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls' record of 72 wins.

The alternative is resting up for the play-offs, now that the Warriors have assured themselves of the best record in the NBA entering the post-season.

"I'm inclined to give some guys some rest if they need it," Kerr said after the Warriors held the Spurs (65-13) to 19 field goals in the first 30 minutes of the first regular-season meeting of teams with 65 or more wins.

"But I've sort of made a pact with the guys."

That agreement is to allow the players to decide just how important the record is.

Harrison Barnes, whose season-high-tying 21 points and eight rebounds helped pave the way to the 70th win, left little doubt where he stands.

"I'm 23 and I've got no problem playing the rest of these games."

Fellow forward Draymond Green added: "Most of the guys in the locker room are saying, 'We're right here, we've put all this effort into it, let's go for it'."

The Warriors will face the Memphis Grizzlies twice in the final three games of the season, with a rematch against the Spurs in San Antonio in between.

Stephen Curry, the leading scorer on Thursday with 27 points, said there is more at stake in the final three games than just a shot at the record.

"We wanted to come out (against the Spurs) and be able to have the opportunity to show we're a team," he said. "We have three more opportunities to do that, and we'll get ready for the post-season.

"In the process, if we get three wins, that will be great."

Andrew Bogut had 11 rebounds as the Warriors dominated the boards 43-32 en route to becoming just the second team in NBA history to win 70 games in the regular season.

Limiting the Spurs to 19-for-51 shooting (37.3 per cent) while running up a 71-48 margin at the midpoint of the third quarter, the Warriors were thoroughly dominant in improving to 9-0 following a loss.

"We've been stumbling a little bit the last three home games here," said Curry, referring to a period which included defeats by the Boston Celtics and Minnesota Timberwolves. "Against a team that play at a high level, you want to get a win and that's what we did."

Green had 18 points and Klay Thompson added 14 points for the Warriors, while Kawhi Leonard scored a team-high 23 points for the Spurs, who are assured of the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference play-offs.

"It's good practice," Spurs veteran Manu Ginobili said of an opponent they could meet in the Western Conference Finals next month.

"It's important to play against them and get familiar with that type of play."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 09, 2016, with the headline 'KERR 'CONFUSED' AFTER 70TH WIN'. Print Edition | Subscribe