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The Golden State Warriors are on a tear so far this season, remaining perfect by beating Utah 106-103 on Monday night to continue their historic start to the season. The Warriors have sprinted out to a record 19-0 start, which is far and away the best start that the NBA has ever seen.
It is the first time in professional sports history in North America that a team has started off a season with 19 straight wins, although the 2007 New England Patriots infamously came close to that feat, falling just short of what would have been a perfect season by losing in the final quarter of the Super Bowl. The NBA season is a lot longer than the NFL season, however. The Warriors had already brought an impressive resume to this new season as the defending NBA champions, having won the title with a hugely impressive and dominant season last year. They have yet to show any signs of the championship hangover that so often plague other teams after winning titles, and the Warriors are looking like the team to beat at this point in the season.
So impressive has their performance been thus far that they have erased the doubts that many of their detractors had about them when the season began, and many had dismissed them as one-year wonders. Some are drawing comparisons to other great teams in NBA history. Already, they are the first team in NBA history to have started off a season with such an impressive undefeated start, and have clearly established themselves as the early favorites to repeat as champions at season’s end. Now, people are jokingly asking when, if ever, the Warriors are going to lose. More seriously, some people are wondering if they might be able to remain undefeated all the way to a big showdown on Christmas Day against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, the team that the Warriors defeated in the NBA Finals to win the title last season. There is a lot of basketball yet to be played between then and now, though.
Indeed, there is no doubt that Golden State is looking amazing, with what clearly looks like the league’s best offense. No team this season has been able to stop them, or even slow them down enough to get the better of them on the scoreboard at game’s end. Dating back to last season, Golden State has now won 23 regular season games in a row, which ranks among the greatest winning streaks in history. The Warriors are fueled by their biggest star, Stephen Curry, who has led the team for the last few years now. He is playing with a measure of precision that is amazing for fans to behold, establishing himself as the best pure shooter in the league and averaging just shy of 32 points per game.
Still, Curry knows how difficult the challenges that lay ahead for him and his team are. The Warriors just began what very well may be one of their toughest tests of the season last night in Utah, which was the first of a seven-game road trip that will take them right to mid-December. The Utah Jazz played Golden State very tough and pushed them to the brink. However, Curry hit a three-pointer with just 51 seconds left to break a tie of 101-101. The Jazz continued to fight on, but the Warriors were able to hold them off to preserve a 106-103 win to keep their perfect start intact.
This game might be an indication of things to come, however. Before the game, some Jazz players openly spoke about their wish to see Golden State retain their unbeaten record when they came to visit Salt Lake City, in hopes of being the first team to defeat the Warriors this season. It is likely that other teams will hope for the same thing, as every team on their schedule in the near future would like a crack at being the first to hand the Warriors a loss. For now, however, Golden State can be happy that they remained perfect, getting past another serious challenge to continue their historic start to the season.
One of the things that has fueled Golden State’s hot start is a perceived lack of respect, as many dismissed their championship success last season as somewhat of a fluke. Whatever slights that may have bothered the Warriors before seem to be melting quickly by the their hot play on the court. Golden State remained perfect by beating Utah on Monday and extending their historic start this season. Now, instead of suggestions that they were a one-championship wonder, there is talk of them possibly eclipsing the 72 wins of the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, and the only questions left concerning these Warriors is whether they would defeat the best teams in history, including the Lakers of the 1980s and the Bulls of the 1990s. Increasingly, it appears that the Warriors’ only real obstacle to locking their place in history will be themselves, as they continue earning their spot as one of the best franchises in NBA history, if not even in sports history.
Commentary by Charles Bordeau
ESPN: Stephen Curry helps Warriors hold off Jazz to stretch record to 19-0
The Salt Lake Tribune: Utah Jazz: Golden State Warriors still chasing history as they come to Utah
Bleacher Report: Predicting When the Golden State Warriors Will Lose Their 1st Game
Article Image Courtesy of Erik Drost’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Featured Image Courtesy of Cheryll Del Rosario’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License