The Golden State Warriors don’t just have streaks.
They have streaks of streaks.
Golden State has won 10 straight games, the longest winning streak in the NBA this season. And that makes this the sixth consecutive season that the Warriors have had a double-digit streak of victories — which ties San Antonio for the longest such run in league history. The Spurs had a 10-game streak in every season from 2010-11 through 2015-16.
That said, here come the champs, again.
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Golden State is back atop the West, and in the mix with Milwaukee and Toronto for the NBA’s best record. The stretch where the Warriors lost four straight and six of nine earlier this season, prompting whispers that the reigning back-to-back champions are vulnerable, seems long forgotten.
“We’ve got an edge about us,” Warriors guard Stephen Curry said. “It hasn’t been perfect and we know we can still get better, but we’ve talked about putting a run together for a while now and we’re right in the middle of a really good one. We want to create good vibes, especially with All-Star break coming up.”
During this 10-game win streak, the Warriors are grabbing seven more rebounds per game than their opponents (49-42) and putting up 10 more assists per game as well (33-23). And in the last 12 games, their only losses have been one-pointers to Portland and Houston — both of those coming at home.
It probably isn’t a coincidence that Golden State’s best run of the season started not long after the Warriors were embarrassed by LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers by 26 points on Christmas night. The Warriors have averaged 127 points per game since, and another bad sign for opponents is they’re still finding how to best implement DeMarcus Cousins into the lineup.
“Well, we’re healthy. That helps,” Warriors guard Klay Thompson said. “And we’re having fun. Those two things make a great mix.”
Curry is on perhaps his best roll of the season, averaging nearly 31 points during the 10-game winning streak. Curry missed his first four shot attempts in Golden State’s win at Boston on Saturday night — then made his next four, all from 3-point range, all in a span of 1 minute, 56 seconds.
“Even when I coached against him at Butler, I always feel like you’re a minute away from being part of the fairytale,” Boston coach Brad Stevens said. “He can just go crazy.”
We are paying the price for the results of a scandalous election, one where social-media campaigns and overseas influence clearly played a role in the outcome and created problems.
Of course, we’re talking about the 2016 NBA All-Star vote.
The NBA changed the voting rules after that season, thanks to the 768,112 people who voted for Zaza Pachulia in 2016 and nearly made him a starter. Pachulia’s “candidacy” was fueled by social-media influencers and many votes from the former Soviet republic of Georgia, his homeland. So for the last three years, the voting for starters has been a formula — 50 percent fans, 25 percent media, 25 percent players.
That’s not working, either.
Players got a lot of it right, and Charlotte’s Kemba Walker — a first-time All-Star starter this season — was appreciative that 98 of his NBA colleagues picked him.
But there are players who haven’t taken the voting seriously.
Dallas’ Kostas Antetokounmpo got three player votes, apparently from three people who overlooked the fact that he hasn’t made his NBA debut. Sacramento’s Wenyen Gabriel got one vote, despite his zero NBA minutes. San Antonio’s Ben Moore got two votes; he hasn’t played this season. Orlando’s Troy Caupain had two votes, one for each of his field goals in 2018-19.
Even Pachulia got two player votes, which meant two NBA players thought he’s more worthy of an All-Star start than either Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard or Joel Embiid.
In all, the NBA set an embarrassing record this season — 289 players got at least one of their peers to vote for them as an All-Star starter, or worse, voted for themselves. There were 282 players who received a vote in 2017, and 249 last year. And all that comes with plenty of players not even bothering to vote at all.
A couple of possible solutions include the NBA either taking the vote away from players or drastically shortening their voting choices on next year’s ballot.
THE WEEK AHEAD
The NBA releases the names of the 14 reserve picks — as chosen by the coaches — on Thursday night, and the full list of all the All-Star Saturday Night competitors is likely in the coming days as well.
Along with that, here’s a game to watch each day this week:
— Monday, Golden State at Indiana: Pacers should still be a playoff team, even with Victor Oladipo out.
— Tuesday, Phoenix at San Antonio: Quietly, this has been another impressive Gregg Popovich coaching job.
— Wednesday, Dallas at New York: Potentially Dirk Nowitzki’s final appearance at Madison Square Garden.
— Thursday, Milwaukee at Toronto: Matchup of the top teams in the Eastern Conference standings.
— Friday, Houston at Denver: The Nuggets are 0-2 against the Rockets this season, both by double digits.
— Saturday, L.A. Lakers at Golden State: The Christmas game debacle will be a rallying point for the Warriors.
— Sunday, Oklahoma City at Boston/L.A. Clippers at Toronto: A Super Bowl warmup for Patriots and Rams fans.
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