By Connor Buestad | Connor@Section925.com
When Michael Jordan and his '95-'96 Bulls pulled off their historic 72-10 regular season (before beating Oakland's Gary Payton in the Finals), Chicago had a total of 47 wins through their first 52 games. The Dubs will play their 52nd game of the year tonight in Phoenix, looking to secure their 48th win of the season before the well-deserved All-Star Break.
Arguably the biggest obstacle standing in Golden State's way of 72-wins is the idea of fatigue. Pippen, Rodman and Jordan were an infamous trio that never seemed to leak oil. Jordan gambling all night and playing a round of 18-holes prior to tip-off? No problem. Rodman taking in-season benders to Las Vegas? Not unheard of. Pippen hawking both ends of the floor at 100% effort night after night? You bet. Oh, and let's not forget about Steve Kerr bringing energy off the bench to rain spot up-threes.
The Bulls might not have been as deep or as pretty as the Dubs, but their horses were built to take a beating and keep on pushing. This is not to say the youthful Warriors don't have the necessary energy levels to push through to 72, but one has to admit MJ set the bar incredibly high. The Warriors have played virtually flawless basketball this season and still only have six losses to spare as they knock on the door of the ASG.
One of the most physically cruel aspects of an 82-game NBA schedule are road games on the back end of a back-to-back. After putting on a show for the Oracle faithful on Tuesday, the Dubs had to immediately fly out to PHX to face the Suns less than 24-hours later. Granted, Phoenix is a woeful 14-39 on the year and the Warriors are 17-point road favorites. Not to mention, Talking Stick Resort Arena is not exactly a hostile environment for visiting teams. That being said, winning on the road in the Association should never be taken for granted.
The Suns have already had head coach Jeff Hornacek fired this year in favor of interim head coach Earl Watson. As of late, the team has been reeling, having dropped their last eight games, including a 10-point loss to Philly.
In the other corner you have the magical Golden State Warriors who's season speaks for itself. Flame-thrower Steph Curry (29.9 ppg) dropped 35-points last night on James Harden and figures to continue his tear in Phoenix on Wednesday. If he's feeling heavy in the legs, Curry can look to the closest thing the Warriors have to Dennis Rodman (power forward Draymond Green), for a burst of trash-talk-laced intensity to help push the team through.
Following what figures to be a Dubs romp in the Valley of the Sun, Klay Thompson, Green and Curry will happily head up to Toronto for a weekend of All-Star festivities (both Splash Brothers will appear in the 3-point contest). 72-10 will most certainly be a topic of discussion, and for that, Warriors' fans should be grateful... and energized.