OAKLAND, Calif. — Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr insists his team accomplished its primary goal for the 2015-16 regular season Thursday night by clinching the home-court advantage throughout the NBA playoffs.
Now comes the dessert … and Kerr isn’t sure he wants to indulge.
“We’re going to talk about it (Friday),” he said of the Warriors’ approach to pursuing the single-season wins record following a 112-101 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday in a historic meeting of the league’s top two teams.
“I’m confused,” Kerr admitted.
The confusion is over whether the Warriors (70-9) should go all out in their final three games, needing a sweep to best the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls‘ record of 72 wins.
The alternative is resting up for the playoffs, which start next weekend, now the Warriors have assured themselves of the best record in the NBA entering the postseason.
“I’m inclined to give some guys some rest if they need it,” Kerr said after one of the Warriors’ best all-around efforts resulted in holding the Spurs (65-13) to 19 field goals in the first 30 minutes of the first-ever 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,” he said. “I’ve got no problem playing the rest of these games.”
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 on Sunday.
Stephen Curry, the leading scorer 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 postseason.
“In the process, if we get three wins, that will be great.”
Andrew Bogut had 11 rebounds as the Warriors dominated the boards to the tune of 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 percent) 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.
Neither the Warriors nor the Spurs has lost in a game immediately following a defeat this season. No team in NBA history has gone through the regular season without consecutive defeats.
“It took 70 wins to wrap up the 1-seed,” Kerr said. “That tells you all you need to know about that team in the other locker room.”
The Warriors led by as many as 15 points in the second quarter and then 23 in the third en route to just their second win in their last four home games after a 36-0 start at Oracle Arena.
Draymond Green had 18 points, seven assists and six rebounds, and Klay Thompson added 14 points for the Warriors, who shot 54.2 percent from the field and 12-for-25 on 3-pointers.
Curry (11-for-19), Barnes (8-for-13) and Green (7-for-12) all hit better than half of their shots.
Kawhi Leonard scored a team-high 23 points for the Spurs, who had a four-game winning streak snapped.
The loss assured the Spurs of the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs.
“It’s good practice,” Spurs veteran Manu Ginobili said of playing the Warriors, an opponent San Antonio could see in the Western Conference finals next month. “They are not a normal team. That’s why it’s important to play against them and get familiar with that type of play.”
Tony Parker (4-for-10, 10 points), LaMarcus Aldridge (5-for-16, 11 points) and Tim Duncan (2-for-6, four points) all struggled for San Antonio, which lost to Golden State for just the fifth time in the past 29 regular-season meetings.
Aldridge had a painful night after dislocating the pinky finger on his right (shooting) hand in the first half.
“It freaked me out. It was going the other direction,” he said. “It didn’t feel right the whole night, but I’ll be OK.”
San Antonio forward Kyle Anderson had eight points and a team-high 11 rebounds off the bench.
NOTES: The Warriors became just the seventh team in NBA history to record the best record in the league two seasons in a row. … Spurs C Tim Duncan played in his 1,390th game, which broke a tie with SG Reggie Miller for eighth place on the NBA’s all-time list. … Despite the 11-point margin of defeat, the Spurs still have a better season point differential (plus-873, fourth best in NBA history) than the Warriors (plus-854, sixth best). … Spurs coach Gregg Popovich announced before the game that he would rest some veteran players Friday in Denver and have all hands on deck once again for the rematch with the Warriors in San Antonio on Sunday.