Bryan Altman, CBS Local Sports
It’s hard to even describe what the Golden State Warriors are doing on the basketball court right now. They’re world beaters, bullies – brash and bold in the best sense of both words and at 11-0 are showing absolutely no signs of slowing down. But the question that’s on everyone’s lips is just how good is this team? Better yet, how good can they be?
Michael Jordan’s 1995-96 Bulls went 72-10 and breezed through the playoffs, which is why they are understandably the gold standard by which all other NBA teams are measured.
During that magical season the Bulls lost just two games before Christmas and that set the pace for them to break the NBA’s record for most wins in a season and become the first (and last) team to win 70-plus games.
According to PredictionMachine.com, there’s a chance, albeit a slight one, that the Warriors can do even better than Jordan’s Bulls and find themselves at 29-0 around the time St. Nick strolls into a town near you.
PredictionMachine.com simulated each Warriors game between now and Christmas – a total of 18 games – 50,000 times to calculate what the Warriors’ odds are of winning each individual matchup. According to their simulations, the Warriors have a 3.8 percent chance of winning every single game between now and Christmas, which would give them that inconceivable record of 29-0.
Their analysis gives the Warriors greater than a 70 percent chance of winning each of their next 18 games. According to the predictions, the Warriors are most likely to lose on the road either this week against the Los Angeles Clippers, or on their seven-game road trip after Thanksgiving.
“If the Warriors do slip up, it’ll likely occur on the road. Away games against the Clippers (this week) and the Jazz (after Thanksgiving) are against top ten teams that are a combined 6-2 on their home courts. The matchup against Utah is the start of a seven game road trip. There is a 76.5 percent chance that Curry and company lose at least one game in that span away from the Oracle.”
While PrectionMachine.com actually crunched the numbers, there’s one particular matchup that gets an extra long look due to emotional reasons more than analytical ones.
The final game of the 29-game stretch of the season comes on Christmas Day against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, the first between the two teams since their six-game NBA Championship series this past June.
PredictionMachine.com gives the Warriors a 77 percent chance of winning the game, but they also noted that the number is subject to change based on one important x-factor.
“The last time these teams met the Cavs were without the services of Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. If Cleveland is fully healthy, Irving is still recovering from a broken knee cap, the game in Oakland gets more interesting. As these teams are currently constructed, Golden State would be 77 percent likely to win. With Irving in the lineup, Cleveland’s expected win probability increases 12 percent. Still, the Warriors would be 65 percent likely to win.”
Obviously these predictions don’t take into account potential injuries and other circumstances that affect teams over the course of the year, but it sure feels like the Warriors we’re watching night in and night out right now are capable of doing anything. They’ve already proven that they have the mental makeup to win when it matters most, so if they put their hearts into it, it’s hard to argue that anything is impossible for this bunch.
Bryan Altman is, for some reason, an unabashed fan of the Rangers, Jets and Mets. If he absolutely had to pick a basketball team it would be the Knicks, but he’d gladly trade them for just one championship for either of his other three teams.