The Warriors are just fine.
Two nights after a loss to the Boston Celtics dropped Golden State’s odds of breaking the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls’ record of 72 regular season wins to 54.6 percent according to our CARM-Elo projections, the Warriors thumped the Portland Trail Blazers 136-111 and those chances are back to 60 percent. Stephen Curry scored 39 points on 21 shots and made nine of 13 3-pointers; Draymond Green had 22 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, three blocks and two steals.
The Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard had a good game — 38 points on 27 shots — and Portland kept it tight through two and a half quarters, but the Warriors pulled away late with James Michael McAdoo taking Anderson Varejao’s minutes in the second half. (The Warriors played much of Sunday’s game without a true center, with Andrew Bogut out with a rib injury and Festus Ezeli, back after a 31-game absence, playing just nine minutes.)
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The win takes the Warriors to 69-8 with five games to play. Projections for an exact number of wins are volatile as the season winds down, in large part because there are so few games left, and also because the Warriors are such big favorites in most of their games (CARM-Elo said they were an 89-percent favorite to win against the Celtics) that any loss has an outsize effect. Even after the loss to the Celtics, however, the Warriors’ most likely record was still 73-9, one game ahead of the ’95-’96 Bulls.
Assuming it can sweep the other games in its schedule, Golden State still needs to win at least one of its two remaining games against the San Antonio Spurs to break the record. As usual, it’s hard to tell what Spurs coach Gregg Popovich will do; with his team already in the playoffs, he has been alternating playing his normal rotations and resting core players. The Spurs’ starters played heavy minutes against Toronto on Saturday, though, so they haven’t closed up shop just yet.
Beyond that, CARM-Elo says the Warriors have about a 74.2 percent chance of winning the other three games on the schedule — one against Minnesota (95.6 percent) and two against Memphis (83.0 percent and 93.5 percent) — going by current ratings.