So far, the Golden State Warriors have snatched the NBA spotlight. They have established a standard that this league has not seen since 1995-96. Back then, the Chicago Bulls were nearing the end of winning six NBA titles over a seven-year span.
For me, it was the best of times. Being a Chicago native, I covered those teams led by NBA superstar Michael Jordan. He and I are friends; he has been regarded by many as the greatest player to ever play in the NBA.
Those Bulls teams were coached by Phil Jackson. The Bulls were 72-10, and that is the standard that all the great NBA teams over time have lined up behind.
Golden State had one of the 10 or 12 best seasons in NBA history last year. They finished 67-15 in the regular season and completed the year by beating LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers four games to two in the NBA Finals.
This season, the Warriors and NBA MVP Stephen Curry have become similar to the Bulls back in the day. They’ve grabbed the world sports spotlight.
Curry leads the NBA in scoring with 30.3 per game and has made an NBA-record 340 three-point shots. Steve Kerr, now the coach of the Warriors, is a former teammate of Jordan’s with the Bulls and played on that 72-10 team. Kerr also played with Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs, where he won two titles.
After beating the Timberwolves 109-104 Monday night before 19,452, the Warriors are now 63-7. That’s the best record in NBA history after 70 games.
“It’s pretty exciting and pretty amazing really,” said Coach Kerr. “The season is such a grind mentally and physically. To reach the 70-game mark and still not losing two in a row? It’s never been done before in the history of the league. And all the numbers and stats — that is what I’m most proud of. It shows our competitive spirit and desire to win night after night. It’s fantastic.”
With 12 games left, the Warriors are ahead of the Bulls’ pace when they finished 72-10. The Warriors are 63-7 at the point where the Bulls were 62-8.
The Warriors have won 50 straight games over two years at home. That is an NBA record, and they are 32-0 this season at home. Kerr, having played with the Bulls and Spurs, has combined two great championship systems with the talented players he coaches in Golden State.
“It’s a combination of things I learned in Chicago under Phil Jackson,” Kerr said, “and things I learned from Gregg Popovich in San Antonio and Mike D’Antoni and Alvin Gentry from my days in Phoenix. We just try to keep the ball moving and get good spacing and shooting. And the more decisions we can force the defense to make, the more likely they are to make a mistake.”
And that, folks — with good fortune and great players like MVP Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala, and a deep bench — is why the Warriors are breaking records on the road to defending an NBA Championship.
Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.