The winningest team in NBA history. The Golden State Warriors.
If those words were muttered five years ago, the reaction would surely be sharp and callous. But these odd times we live in now include the Warriors owning the record for most regular season wins during one 82-game stretch, which finished Wednesday night at home versus the Memphis Grizzlies.
Golden State’s 125-104 win over Memphis included several milestones: Stephen Curry hit his 400th three of the season, smashing the previous record — set by Curry — of 286 in a season.
But the single-season record for wins is clearly the one everyone cherishes most. Former 1995-96 Bulls guard and Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said:
“It was a great way to finish off what was a great regular season. I just told our guys that I never, in a million years, thought that record would ever be broken. I thought it was like DiMaggio’s hit streak. I was wrong, but I will say the same thing that I said 20 years ago. I don’t think this one will ever be broken.”
Curry became the only player in NBA history with a field goal percentage of better than 50 percent, a 3-point clip over 45 percent, better than 90 percent free throw percentage — all while averaging more than 30 points per game.
Not to mention scoring 46 points in 30 minutes Wednesday night.[envira-gallery id=”179172″]
Green was also charged with five of Golden State’s 16 turnovers.
The Warriors’ record might stand for longer than 20 years, and center Andrew Bogut joked that, with a possibility that the league could reduce the number of regular season games at some point, the record might become impossible to break.
“Somebody has to go 74-and-8. I don’t see it.”
The Warriors — who are slated to play the Houston Rockets starting Saturday in the first round of the 2016 NBA Playoffs — got off to a mild start that reached a furious boil by halftime. They led by 20 points after 24 minutes, and held a double-digit advantage for the remainder of the night.
Curry scored 20 of Golden State’s 37 first half points, sinking 6-of-9 three point attempts, while Thompson raked in 12 points during the second quarter.
By the fourth quarter, fans were out of their seats doing the wave, which might be a first for Oracle Arena.
The Warriors cemented themselves as the best basketball team in a long time, and it’s difficult to argue they’re not the best ever, as much as Charles Barkley says otherwise.
“I think when you were able to accomplish the back to back championships, and you add in this record, there’s people still going to talk. Regardless of having it or not. They’re still going to say ‘oh, it’s a different era. Or they couldn’t have done what they did in this era.’ They’re still going to talk. And we really don’t care what they say.”
In typical facetious nature, Green joked:
“We’ve lucked our way into 73 wins this year. That’s going to continue to be the way it is. We’re going to continue to be lucky. It is what it is. We don’t do it for that, when you look at the competitive nature of this team, we’re true competitors.”
Golden State’s season includes the best start in NBA history, a sellout for every home game — the last non-sellout coming in 2014 — and the most three-pointers in a regular season. And then there are the personal accolades.
The aforementioned excluded, Green became the first player in league history to score 1,000 points, while grabbing 500 rebounds and 500 assists. He also stole the rock 120 times and recorded 113 blocks.
Andrew Bogut tossed in some jokes of his own about naysayers who consider all the broken records to, somehow, be a fluke:
“If anyone asks me about anything 20 years from now, I’m going to say ‘everyone sucked. We were the best. Back in my day.’ And ‘the game has changed, it’s watered down, and it’s crap.’ That’s what I’m going to say. Just so I can fit in with everybody else.”
On a more serious note, Bogut added:
“I hope I’m not like that. We do get bitter when we get old, but I respect every era. I think every era brings something different to the game. And you can’t take away from what anybody did in the ’60s, ’70s and the ’80s. You can only do with what you’ve got. Unfortunately you can’t push a button and have the Bulls healthy and young right now. It’s a great talking point, but it’s kind of pointless to me.”
The Warriors have set or broken so many records this year that Google’s best super computer might struggle to keep up.
And nobody on their squad is showing many signs of slowing. This is a team that appears destined to repeat their championship aspirations beginning Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at Oracle Arena against the Houston Rockets.