Ever since the Warriors rattled off 24 straight victories to start the season, the 1996 Chicago Bulls’ 72-10 record has been in jeopardy. On Wednesday night, they passed that threshold with a decisive 125-104 win over the undermanned Memphis Grizzlies, solidifying themselves as the proprietors of the greatest regular-season in NBA history.
It was a challenge the Warriors embraced from the very beginning and never once shied away from, even as the season was winding down and there were questions about whether head coach Steve Kerr should consider resting some of his key players in anticipation of the playoffs. Instead, they scratched and clawed their way through the final two weeks of the regular season, gutting several close victories that put them in position to seize control of the record in the final game of the regular season.
And that’s precisely what they did on Wednesday night. In the process, reigning MVP Steph Curry reached a personal milestone of his own as he made his 400th three-pointer of the season. Going into the game, he was eight shy of that mark, so he proceeded to drain six threes in the first quarter alone, making good on his previous promise to start chucking if he got anywhere close to 400 by season’s end. He sank his eighth early in the third quarter, then drained a couple of more after that just for good measure.
Curry made 10-of-19 threes overall and finished with 46 points, six assists, four rebounds, and a pair of steals. He led five Warriors in double-figures, as Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes had 16 and 15 points, respectively, while Draymond Green added 11 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists on 50 percent shooting.
The poor, depleted Grizzlies never stood a chance. They had an opportunity to spoil it for the Warriors last weekend with a scrappy effort on their home floor, but a determined Golden State squad would simply not be denied a chance at history in their regular-season finale at Oracle Arena. Zach Randolph led the way for the Grizzlies a with valiant but ultimately futile effort as he put up 24 points, six rebounds, and four assists, while Lance Stephenson chipped in 22 points and four assists on 8-of-14 shooting.
Afterward, NBA commissioner Adam Silver offered his official congratulations.
All season long, comparisons to the ’96 Bulls have been ubiquitous, and those arguments are unlikely to go away any time soon as fans and basketball analysts will continue to draw distinctions between what now can only be characterized as the two most dominant regular-season teams in league history.
Golden State will have some much-needed rest before they kick off the post-season against the Houston Rockets this weekend and turn their attention to their primary goal of winning a second consecutive NBA title.