Both chasing history and making history, the Golden State Warriors are coming to town.
And that’s a big deal.
“Some people will say they don’t, but I guarantee you each and every guy in this league, when they look at who won and who lost, they’re checking on Golden State,’’ Tayshaun Prince said. “If they’re not, they’re lying. How many threes did Steph [Curry] hit? Did Draymond [Green] come close to a triple-double? Everybody is paying attention.’’
Prince, a seasoned veteran, watched as a teenager as the 1995-96 Bulls went 72-10; his first season in the NBA was Michael Jordan’s last. Near the end of Prince’s career, he has watched as the Warriors — the defending league champs — have chased those Bulls led by the dynamic backcourt of reigning MVP Curry and Klay Thompson. Despite losing in San Antonio Saturday, the Warriors (62-7) can become the winningest team in league history by winning 11 of their final 13 games.
With the nation watching, the Wolves are about to become part of that story.
“We want to be there one day,” Wolves guard Zach LaVine said. “But, until then, we’re going to give them our best. It’s always an exciting game, playing against the MVP. … It seems like you’re up a little bit more, a little more on edge, because you don’t want to be embarrassed. They’re trying to make history. They’re not taking it easy on anybody. So you just gotta be a little more on edge.’’
One thing nobody wants to do is try to compare the Warriors to those Bulls. Different eras, different teams playing by different rules. Especially when it comes to defense.
“Totally different,” Wolves interim coach Sam Mitchell said. “The Bulls played big. Big guys. And Michael Jordan. They just played differently. Not the same.’’
In an era where players are more limited by what they can do on defense, the Curry-led Warriors are the right team at the right time.
“It’s a different style of game,” Prince said. “It’s a different era. And they way [the Warriors] showcase talent and incorporate with the way the rules are now, you’ve never seen anything like this. Obviously nobody plays the way Steph Curry plays.’’
And that’s why Prince doesn’t want to compare eras.
“You see Oscar [Robertson] and all those older guys talking about how coaches are not defending Steph the right way,” Prince said. “Believe me, those guys couldn’t guard Steph Curry, due to the rules in today’s game. So I hate comparisons, what they would have done back in the day, all that stuff. It just doesn’t make any sense.’’
Which is why, when asked after practice Sunday if the Warriors were changing the way the game is played, he scoffed.
“If you find another Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and a Draymond Green, maybe you can play like that,” he said.
But playing against that team is both daunting and a thrill.
“You always want to play against the best,” Ricky Rubio said. “And right now, they’re not just the best this season. They’ve been one of the best teams in history.’’