By: Rob Botts
Usually, and on a very consistent basis, human beings always run AWAY from Bulls. It’s a smart move if you value at all, your overall health and well being. But what if you valued breaking the 1996 Chicago basketball Bulls best regular season record of 72 wins and just 10 losses? Well, dig in and start throwing you and your team head on towards that historic Michael Jordan team. But, please put on your nearest football helmet and sign the closest life insurance policy. Who would be crazy enough to do this? There can’t be too many teams out there across the current National basketball Association landscape that would have the talent, stamina or mental focus to attempt this pursuit. Is there even one squad out there that can do it? There’s actually more than one my hoop loving friends.
Back when this current season opened up and as the Golden State Warriors kept piling up the wins without gathering any losses, we had a team breaking away from the pack and garnering all the well deserved attention. But, now another team has emerged as 2015 has turned into 2016. You might have heard of this crew before. Just maybe. Your San Antonio Spurs. Yes, those Spurs. Don’t call it a comeback because these guys never leave.
Both squads currently sit with the following spectacular regular season records: Warriors 37-4. Spurs 36-6. The teams are pretty much unbeatable in their home buildings and are extremely good on the road as well. The results these teams get are almost the same, but how these guys go about it, couldn’t be more different. And the same. Don’t worry professor, I’ll explain.
They are the same in that they move the ball until it finds it’s way into the hands of an open teammate or a mismatch that needs taking advantage of. There are absolutely no egos to be found anywhere. Only a bunch of extremely confident and competitive dudes who truly enjoying punching in together. They both took care of King James and all his men from Cleveland in their initial match ups. Both Western Conference powerhouses play very hard on the defensive end and like to push the ball off of turnovers. Both of them have passionate fan bases that treat each and every game as if it is an elimination game. Both teams have players that can do multiple things on the floor in varying situations. Oh, and they are both championship franchises. That’s the same.
Here’s the different. When gathering a defensive rebound and pushing the ball out on the break, both squads almost always score, but in different ways. The Warriors will fill sprint dudes out to different spots on the three point line because they all can shoot from there. Those same guys will nail the international waters shots if they are given the ball by MVP Stephen Curry when he is pushing it up, if he hasn’t pulled up for that same shot already. In that same break scenario, the Spurs will rush the rock up that will end with either a Tony Parker lay up or a Kawhi Leonard one handed finger roll or thunder slam. In the half court set, Golden State will play outside in, while the Spurs will play inside out. The Warriors like to isolate their guards in a one on one situation on either wing. The Spurs like isolation as well, but mostly on the block with Duncan, Leonard and Aldridge being the focal points. The two current coaches this season could not be more different as well. The interim head man, Luke Walton, is young, inexperienced and has an easy going attitude while getting his on the job training this season since Steve Kerr continues to be away with back issues. Spurs coaching legend Gregg Popovich has years of experience with a curmudgeon edge to him. He also has won 5 NBA rings and uses his gut more than a parasite to make big decisions before, during and after games. He also knows when to get in the way and out of the way. Walton will learn that.
All of the aforementioned same and different reasons for their early season dominance have put them into prime position to truly have a legit shot at 72 wins or better. Seriously.
Is Michael Jordan worried? I’m sure he will call upon his inner Mercury Morris to speak for him on this topic. Mr. Morris was part of the 1972 Miami Dolphins. You know, the only undefeated NFL team ever? MJ might say what Mercury says to anyone who is getting close enough to sniff his record: “They may be in my neighborhood, but you can only call me when you’re on my block.”
The Warriors and Spurs are coming Mr. Jordan. What is your address again??