With just a quarter of the regular season left, the Golden State Warriors are 56-6 and on pace to break another NBA record.
In 1996, the Chicago Bulls led by Michael Jordan, went 72-10 in the regular season and capped it off with a championship. The 72 wins are the most in NBA history by any team in one season. Many people like Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen and even Jordan thought the record would stand for a long time, longer than 20 years at least.
Last year’s world champion Dubs, can still break that record this season, despite a blowout loss to the cellar dweller Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. With 20 games left on the schedule, Golden State needs to go 17-3 in order to finish the season in historic fashion.
The Warriors will be at Oracle Arena for 14 of their final 20 games, which is great news for the squad; Golden State has not lost at home in nearly two years, another Bulls record they broke on Tuesday when they won their 45th consecutive home game 119-113 over the Orlando Magic, most in NBA history.
The team also loves to share the ball at a record-breaking level. They have recorded 30 or more assists 30 times this season, which is the most for any NBA team in more than 20 years. The last team to have such a high assist rate and ratio were the Los Angeles Lakers, dubbed “Showtime,” who featured superstars like Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Kareem Abdul Jabbar. From 1980 to 1988, those Laker teams won five NBA championships and were helped by Jerry West, a hall of famer known as “The Logo.” It’s West’s silhouette that is the trademark of the NBA logo.
West had a lot to do with the formation of those teams and has made a similar impact on the Warriors. It was West who was able to hire Head Coach Steve Kerr, despite being courted by another hall of famer and legend in his own right, Phil Jackson, for the New York Knicks. Jackson offered Kerr more money and control over personnel decisions but West was able to work his magic and get the final piece in — Kerr — that Golden State needed to complete the championship puzzle last season.
This year, Stephen Curry broke his own NBA record for most three-pointers in one season, a record he has set twice, in 2013 with 272 and last season with 286. So far this season Curry has already broken that record with 293 threes, and with 21 games left, the league’s reigning most valuable player will shatter his previous mark. Curry also leads the league in scoring, as he has averaged 30.5 points per game.
There is the argument that the Warriors will be tired or drained come playoff time, but that is just not true. Rest has been the key especially in blowout victories. Curry hasn’t had to play in 15 fourth quarters this season thanks to large leads that had games out of reach. The only Warrior that even ranks in the top 30 players in minutes per game is Draymond Green who is 27th in the league, as he clocks 34.4 minutes per game. Curry is 32nd in the league in minutes played per game with 33.9, far less than league leaders who play nearly 40 minutes per game. Curry might be the leader and heart of the team but Green is the glue. It’s his defensive effort and team-first mentality on offense that ignites the Warriors style of play. Green leads the league in triple-doubles with 11 this season, and he doesn’t seem to be easing up.
Even on March 1, when the reigning MVP Curry and the NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala missed the game, Golden State didn’t flinch and went on to defeat the fifth best team in the Eastern Conference, the Atlanta Hawks.
With their head coach out due to back surgery, Interim Head Coach Luke Walton had the team off to a historical start. The team began the season 24-0 and they were 39-4 when Kerr returned in January. Even without their leader, the team still continued to be dominant.
They lead the league in several key categories like points per game, 115.1, assists, 29.2, three-point percentage, 41 percent and are second in the league in point differential as they outscore opponents by an average of 10.8 points per game. Only the San Antonio Spurs are better in point differential and they are having a remarkable season as well. Despite the Dubs’ historic season, the Spurs have quietly had one of their own and are just three games behind Golden State in the Western Conference standings.
While the chase of history is fun and exciting for fans, let’s not get carried away. With success comes greed; fans, as well as the rest of the basketball world, are starting to show signs of selfishness. It wasn’t long ago that the Warriors were a perpetual NBA doormat. Now fans and the media expect them to win every game in blowout fashion.
Let’s not forget the 21 year gap from 1994 to 2006 when Golden State was one of the worst teams in the league and had no playoff appearances to show during that stretch. The Warriors have come a long way and we should appreciate and enjoy the greatness, not expect it. The Dubs have 73 wins in their sight and the way they have played this season, the record is sure to fall.
Want to be like Mike? No thanks, I’ll stick with Curry and the guys.