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The Golden State Warriors continue to dominate in their pursuit of a season with 73 wins or better, establishing a blistering, record-setting pace this season. Presently, that record is held by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, a team that finished the regular season at 72-10, capping it off by completing a 15-3 postseason, which culminated in an historic championship that cemented their status as the best team ever, or at least to that point. This year’s Warriors are posing the most serious threat by far to achieving that level of sustained greatness throughout an entire season with their impressive run in the majority of this season.
Golden State has been on an incredible pace all season long. The franchise began with a record 24-0 start, establishing themselves within the ranks of historically great teams with what was far and away the longest that any professional sports team in North America remained undefeated. They have lost some games since, but have managed to maintain a very strong record throughout. With a victory over the Orlando Magic on Thursday night, the Warriors improved their record to 52-5.
Golden State will play most of their remaining games in the comfortable confines of their home, Oracle Arena, which is in Oakland. That is a good thing for them, as they have been particularly impressive in their own arena. For now, the Warriors boast a perfect 24-0 record at home. That should help Golden State continue their dominance in pursuit of an historic 73-win season.
Stephen Curry, the leader of this edition of the Warriors, has been playing very prolific ball. He tied Kyle Korver’s record of 127 straight games with at least one three-pointer in the first quarter when he got his first of the game against the Miami Heat early on Wednesday night. In the victory over Orlando on Thursday night, Curry scored 51 points and made it look easy. It was just one more notch on the belt for a team that has made a habit of breaking records this season, although the ultimate record that everyone is monitoring is whether they can either match, or perhaps even beat, the record of 72 wins during the regular season. As of right now, the Warriors are actually ahead of those Bulls in the season, and have become the fastest team in NBA history to reach 50 wins, taking only 55 games to do so. They are still running very strong right now; almost like a well-oiled machine.
One man within the Warriors organization knows all about those 1995-96 Bulls. That man is head coach Steve Kerr, who was a member of the Chicago Bulls from 1993 through 1998. During his tenure there, he won three championship rings, and he added two more to his collection later on in his career with the San Antonio Spurs. However, his most glorious time as a player came with the Chicago Bulls, who reached new levels of dominance in their 72-10 1995-96 season.
However, as impressive as the Warriors season has been thus far, not everyone believes that the Warriors have achieved anything just yet. LeBron James, for one, is impressed, but does not feel that Golden State’s incredible regular season success to this point will mean much of anything come playoff time. He has still held onto the unofficial title as the best player in the NBA, despite the fact that he and the Cleveland Cavaliers lost to this same Golden State team in last year’s NBA finals. James conceded that the Warriors appear to be the cream of the crop, as well as the defending champions, but he reminded everyone that no matter how good any team is during the regular season, every team starts the playoffs (which is often referred to as the “second season”) with a 0-0 record.
James might have a point, although Golden State has looked uniquely talented and driven this season. They have scored at will against one opponent after another, and have handled the pressures of such a dominant start with grace. Often times, they have made winning look deceptively easy, which is surely a sign of just how great they are. Indeed, another solid sign would be if the team indeed manages to eclipse the 72 regular season wins of the 1995-96 Bulls. However, James has a point that even that would not cement the Warriors status if they fail to win another championship at season’s end. But for now at least, the Golden State Warriors continue their pursuit of a truly unique level of dominance with their pursuit of the what would be the best regular season record ever in NBA history with 73 wins.
Commentary by Charles Bordeau
NBA.com: The chase for 73 wins A game-by-game look at how the Warriors are keeping up with the record-setting Chicago Bulls of 1995-96
ESPN: 50 wins means a couple of records for Warriors, Stephen Curry
Yahoo Sports: Five reasons why the Warriors could break the Bulls’ 72-win record
Ohio.com: Cavaliers notebook: LeBron James praises Warriors’ record, warns it means little in the playoffs
Image courtesy of Keith Allison’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License