As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end, and that’s exactly what happened for the Warriors on Wednesday night in Brooklyn. Seeking a perfect end to what had been a perfect road trip, a fatigued Warriors team finally saw their 10-game winning streak come to a halt. Yes, 7-0 would have been nice, not to mention historic, as no NBA team has ever swept a seven-game road trip. Still, a 6-1 trip is nothing to scoff at.
“Truth be told, none of us knew who had the record prior to us trying to chase it down,” Head Coach Mark Jackson said after Wednesday’s loss. “The history that we’re chasing after is bigger than a seven-game road trip (record for) wins.”
Even if the Warriors had won in Brooklyn, an undefeated seven-game road trip would, in the team’s view, be nothing but a footnote in the bigger picture of overall success. Rather than celebrating the achievements of interesting facts and rare occurrences, the Warriors are more concerned with building a winning foundation that will eventually turn into a championship pedigree.
Of course, losing to Brooklyn does nothing to help build that foundation, but it can’t be ignored that the Warriors are in much better position now than they were when their road trip began. They climbed the standings both in their division and the conference, a notable achievement considering the Warriors have played more road games than any team in the NBA, which in turn means that the Dubs have more home games left than anyone else.
“Obviously all the attention was on the streak and trying to break the record for our franchise that hasn’t been in that position in a long time,” Stephen Curry said after the game on Wednesday. “That’s a big deal so it is frustrating right now, but before Friday we can look at the big picture of our road trip and realize we did some good stuff and put ourselves in position to capitalize on a home-heavy schedule for the next couple months.”
For the most part, the Warriors took care of business on their longest road trip of the season. They beat the teams they were supposed to beat, even if they had to sneak their way to a victory from time to time, and they played perhaps their best game of the season in last Thursday’s triumph in South Beach. In many ways, this sojourn mirrored last season’s 6-1 road trip through many of the same cities. That trip marked a crucial turning point in the Warriors season, one in which they surprised many pundits, opponents and perhaps even themselves. This season, the Warriors success is much more expected than surprising, which is why the team sees this trip as a validation, rather than a turning point. That in and of itself offers further proof of a culture change within the organization, one based on winning.
While this year's Warriors are still a work in progress with some team-wide areas to improve upon, mainly turnovers and consistent bench production, they are in a position to make a serious run at the Pacific Division crown. The Warriors will play nine of their next 12 games at home, and only four opponents during that stretch currently have winning records.
And even though the players, coaches and front office staff will take the Player of the Week honors, the All-Star consideration and the overall attention that comes with regular season statistical anomalies, this Warriors team won’t lose focus on the greater goal. Mark Jackson and company won’t allow it to.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Golden State Warriors.