Warriors on the brink of history


Louis LaVenture,

Now everybody can shut up.

The conversations that surrounded the Golden State Warriors all season long seem to come back to a single question: Can they break the all-time single season wins record of 72 set by the 1995-1996 Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls?

An answer in one word: yes.

On Sunday, the Warriors did two things that have not happened in nearly two decades. They won their 72nd regular season game; and they did it by beating the Spurs in San Antonio where they haven’t won since 1997, a streak that extended over 30 games.

Was it a pretty win? No, it wasn’t. Golden State only made 4 of their 19 first quarter shots thanks in large part to a smothering San Antonio defense anchored by swingman Kawhi Leonard. The Warriors were held to just 14 points in the quarter, their fewest in any game this season.

But you can’t count out Stephen Curry. He managed to turn the dismal first half around for Golden State and scored a game-high 16 points in the third quarter — not including a near full court heave that went in but was waved off because it came after the buzzer.

Things got back to normal in the fourth quarter and the Dubs started to move more without the ball and make sharp passes to cutters, the signature of the motion offense that has made them successful the past few seasons. Curry stayed hot until the end and finished with a game-high 37 points that helped the Warriors nab a piece of history with the 92-86 win.

You must keep in mind who they beat as well; a Spurs team, stacked with all stars and hall of famers, many of whom have several championship rings on their fingers. This was no easy task and it took a feat the team hasn’t accomplished in 19 years, winning in San Antonio. This was also the first blemish on the home record for the Spurs this season at 39-1.

What will the critics say now? Well they have until Wednesday to say whatever they want, but at this point it doesn’t really matter. The Warriors can win any way they want to. Ugly, pretty, bad shooting, great shooting, inside, outside, low scoring, high scoring, it doesn’t matter what type of game they have, they can still win. They have proven an NBA record-tying 72 times this year and on Wednesday at home against the Memphis Grizzlies, they have a chance to set a new record all by themselves.

Seventy-three wins are in sight for the Warriors and so is a place in NBA history.

However, that Bulls team that went 72-10 in 1995-1996 did one thing the Dubs will still have to do after Wednesday: They won a championship. Who would know better how hard it is to not only win that many games, but to also culminate the season with a world championship? The Warriors’ Head Coach Steve Kerr who was on that Bulls team with Jordan. Kerr knows what it takes to get to this point, having done it as a player who was known for his lights-out shooting abilities.

“I knew the guys wanted to go for this record for a while now,” Kerr said after the game. “I really didn’t need to ask. These guys are fierce competitors.”

The win also assured the Warriors of yet another NBA first. They will become the first team to never lose consecutive games in a regular season, a good omen for the playoffs, which are best of seven series.

Now that the season has just one game left, the Warriors can be the greatest regular season team ever. But, can they follow that up with a championship run through the playoffs to be considered one of the best teams of all time? For that answer we will just have to wait and see.