MIAMI (AP) — There’s never been an NBA season where two teams both won at least 80 percent of their games.
Golden State and San Antonio might change that.
With the season now past the midway point the Warriors are chasing a repeat title, the Spurs are chasing the Warriors, and they’re both chasing history. When the teams meet Monday at Golden State for the first of their four regular-season matchups, the Warriors will enter with a .909 winning percentage — on pace to be the best in NBA history — while the Spurs are at .864.
Chicago’s mark of .878 (72-10) from 1995-96 is the NBA’s single-season best.
Win or lose Monday, Golden State will remain ahead of that pace.
And while San Antonio almost seemed like an afterthought amid Golden State’s 24-0 start, the Spurs are merely on pace for the third-best record ever.
“The Warriors go on a 55-game winning streak and they’re only two games ahead of them,” said Miami’s Chris Bosh, slightly overstating Golden State’s winning streak. “That’s crazy.”
While this meeting is being touted as a potential Western Conference finals preview — as will the other Warriors-Spurs games on March 19, April 7 and April 10 — it lost some star power Sunday when San Antonio ruled Tim Duncan out with right knee soreness.
But Bosh didn’t think the teams would take a true playoff-type approach anyway, not this early in the season. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and Warriors coach Steve Kerr know that no matter how important Monday seems, much bigger nights await before the Larry O’Brien Trophy gets awarded again.
“I don’t expect anybody to show their hand early,” Bosh said. “They might play psychological games. Pop might rest the first 10 guys and sign eight D-League guys and send them out there. You never know.”
THE WEEK AHEAD
There are other NBA games this week and here’s five to keep an eye on:
— Minnesota at Cleveland, Monday: New Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue’s first game as an NBA player was against Minnesota. He’ll hope his first win as an NBA coach is against the Timberwolves, too.
— Oklahoma City at New York, Tuesday: Madison Square Garden was the only arena Thunder coach Billy Donovan called home as an NBA player, albeit for a mere 24 games as a Knick in 1987-88. (But the Knicks were 19-5 in those games.)
— Washington at Toronto, Tuesday: Wizards swept the Raptors 4-0 in last season’s first playoff round. Raptors looking for a 4-0 sweep of the teams’ regular-season series this year, winning first three by two, three and nine points, respectively.
— San Antonio at Cleveland, Saturday: The second installment of ABC’s Saturday night broadcasts this season should be another good one. LeBron James has walked off a winner in only two of his last nine games against the Spurs.
— Atlanta at Miami, Sunday: This will be only the second home game for the injury-riddled and slumping Heat in a span of 25 days. Hawks and Heat have split two games this season, both winning on the road.
The coaches’ picks for the NBA All-Star reserves get released Thursday. Who might get a call:
— Eastern Conference: DeMar DeRozan and John Wall at guard. Chris Bosh, Andre Drummond and Pau Gasol in the front court. Jimmy Butler and Paul Millsap as wild cards.
— Western Conference: Chris Paul and James Harden at guard. DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis and Draymond Green in the frontcourt. Klay Thompson and Damian Lillard as wild cards.
It’s possible there could be an All-Star Game without Kyrie Irving, Carmelo Anthony, Dirk Nowitzki, Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge.
STAT LINE OF THE WEEK
Kemba Walker scored 52 points against Utah, Stephen Curry was plus-34 against Cleveland and plus-36 against Chicago two nights later, and James Harden had two triple-doubles. But this week’s call goes to DeMarcus Cousins.
Cousins’ line against Indiana on Saturday: career-best 48 points on 17-for-29 shooting, and 13 rebounds as well. He is averaging 26.7 points and 11.4 rebounds this season. The Kings are on a five-game winning streak and in line for their first playoff berth since 2006.