The Golden State Warriors have equaled the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls’ record for wins in a season, and they’ve still got a little room to move.
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The defending champs topped San Antonio on Sunday night by a 92-86 score, in San Antonio’s building, running its record to 72-9. With a win over a depleted Memphis squad on Wednesday night Golden State will finish its season at 73-9, setting an NBA record for wins in a season.
Sunday’s conquest fittingly came against San Antonio, the team that has played the Warriors the best this season, one that features a coach in Gregg Popovich that twice employed Warriors coach Steve Kerr as his reserve hybrid guard. Kerr also played the same role on the 1995-96 Bulls.
None of that palace intrigue mattered on Sunday, as both teams battled throughout. Stephen Curry scored 10 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter, his final total outpacing both teams’ first half output after an opening 24 minutes that saw the score knotted at 35-35. Golden State’s first quarter tally of 14 points was its lowest of the season.
Both teams got on track during the second half, however, and Curry’s uncanny ability to free himself and finish amongst the trees (though San Antonio was working without center Tim Duncan; considered to be a liability in this matchup) helped prove the difference down the stretch. San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge (24 points, 10 rebounds) had his way in the post for the Spurs, but it wasn’t enough in a world that allows Curry so much space to work. The game acted as Golden State's first win in 33 tries in San Antonio, and San Antonio's first regular season home loss in 13 months.
San Antonio’s offensive frustrations continued throughout, as its perimeter triptych of Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker and Danny Green combined to miss 26 of 36 shots. Patty Mills (2-8) and Manu Ginobili (2-7) struggled off the bench. Duncan’s replacement David West worked his tail off as expected, but he missed five of seven from the field, while Boris Diaw (who gave Golden State fits in San Antonio’s March 19 victory over the Warriors) sat because of injuries to his right abductor, groin, and also due to needed rest.
“Rest” in anticipation of what in both camps is expected to be a two-month playoff slog that begins next weekend. The Warriors and Spurs long ago claimed the West’s first and second seeds, and the last two contests between the teams were truly only staged for entertainment purposes. The result of that entertainment led to two more well-earned Warrior wins, alongside its clinching of the best road record (34-7) in NBA history, and its chance to create more history on Wednesday at home against Memphis.
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