George Eddy's International Show
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A season for the ages

PARIS (George Eddy's International Show) - As the NBA regular season winds down into its last five or six games, we can already see that it's been a season of many records with more likely still to come.

After losing at home to the Boston Celtics in another very close game, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr was, as usual, very lucid in comparing the state of his Warriors today with his record-setting Bulls team in 1996. He pointed out that the Bulls got worn down by the constant media pressure concerning the record and started "eking out wins" despite a slippage in execution and even lost two of their last four games at home! Turnovers and the absence of Andre Iguodala are making things tougher right now for the Warriors.

Following their defeat of the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday, the Warriors must win four of their last five games to arrive at the magic number of 73 wins and I still feel they are going to do it because it's become really important to them to add this prestigious record to all the other ones they already broke this season.

Titles are won each season but that record has lasted for 20 years and is the best win percentage in the 70-year history of the NBA!

Their schedule is not really an obstacle and I see them losing only one more game, in San Antonio, because the Spurs are still undefeated at home and only need to beat Golden State and the Oklahoma City Thunder to become the first team ever to go undefeated at home for a whole season.

Gregg Popovich and his players would never admit it - because this goes against their tried-and-true philosophy of not giving too much importance to the regular season - but these are exceptional circumstances so I don't see Pop resting all his starters on April 10th when the two mammoths butt heads. I see the Spurs playing to win and to please their home fans. On the other hand, I wouldn't be surprised if Popovich rested some key players in Golden State on April 7th as Tony Parker has already suggested to the media.

I think that secretly Popovich would be proud to see his protege, Kerr, beat the Bulls' record using a style of team play that is largely based on what Kerr learned from Pop!

The least you can say is that most of the other teams are not cruising into the playoffs with the same ease. The Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks or Utah Jazz will be odd man out for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Rockets have lost six of their last 10 and don't really deserve to make it into the post-season after a very disappointing campaign filled with in-fighting, wasted opportunities and horrific defense.

Even if Utah have less talent, I would rather see them make it because they play together and they always play hard! I want Dallas to make it just because Dirk Nowitzki is so phenomenal and deserving for a player his age (37).

Right now, everyone wants to face the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round because they have lost eight of their last 10 and the roster has been decimated by injuries. I see Portland finishing fifth and playing the Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis in sixth place, which sets them up for a sweep by OKC.

In the Eastern Conference, the Chicago Bulls reminds us of Houston despite another stellar season by Pau Gasol. After a period of great expectations early on, injuries and never finding their true playing identity on the court has made 2016 a disaster for them. The Bulls have been replaced by the Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics (thank you, Isaiah Thomas) and Charlotte Hornets (merci, Nic Batum), three teams that have improved a lot because they, too, play together, play smart and play hard as Dean Smith used to say.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have turned into a soap opera this season with the David Blatt firing, the lack of improvement under Ty Lue and the strained relations between LeBron James and the other two stars on the team, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. You add LeBron's silly,ill-fated communications on social media, his inopportune visit to Miami, his "coaching" when given a game off to rest and his heavy-handed chewing out of Irving on the bench at the end of a close game recently and you've got a pretty good recipe for disaster! The team has the biggest payroll and maybe the most talent but they don't always play together, smart and hard!

It's too bad Toronto don't have DeMarre Carroll because with him they may have been able to upset the Cavs. On the other hand, Bismack Byombo has proven to be a great pickup to improve their defence and rebounding.

We'll have plenty of time to get excited about the playoffs in 12 days but for now let's just enjoy the record chases.

Will Steph Curry make 400 threes?  I doubt it.  Will he have the best PER (player efficiency rating) ever? It won't be easy.  However, he'll be able to console himself with those 73 wins and a bunch of other records!

George Eddy


FIBA's columnists write on a wide range of topics relating to basketball that are of interest to them. The opinions they express are their own and in no way reflect those of FIBA.

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George Eddy

George Eddy

George Eddy, a former pro player and coach in France, has been covering basketball for Canal Plus TV since 1985. He is probably the only commentator in the world to have announced so many Olympics, NBA games, FIBA events and even Super Bowls over the last 29 years. The International Show will bring you his perspective on the NBA and its ever-growing international contingent.