Spurs Warriors Basketball

The Golden State Warriors' Andre Iguodala celebrates from the bench during the second half of an April 7 home win over the San Antonio Spurs.

I spent a hard five minutes staring at a blank page and that diabolical blinking cursor, trying to come up with a good starting point for this.

But that in itself is the issue because where do you start with this Golden State Warriors team?

Maybe with the fact that Wednesday night they finished the regular season 73-9 and broke the record held by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls — a team we crowned as the greatest of all time, until this one started the year 24-0 with interim coach Luke Walton and began breaking their records on a nightly basis.

To end the season with a single digit in the loss column, in a league this strong, in a Western Conference that’s widely accepted as the better half to its Eastern counterpart, is incredible.

Against teams ranked in the top 10 in terms of win percentage, the Warriors lost twice.

The ‘95-‘96 Bulls lost to those teams five times.

The Warriors played seven overtime games and won six of them. Their average margin of victory was more than 10 points, and they were 7-2 in games decided by three points or less.

And think about the moments.

Obviously there’s Steph Curry’s 40-foot game-winner in Oklahoma City.

There was Dell Curry Night in Charlotte, when last year’s MVP scored 28 points in the third quarter and made a night meant for honoring his father more about him.

A few months ago was that insane stretch where Golden State followed its fourth loss of the year at Detroit with five games in nine days, beating Cleveland, Chicago, Indiana, San Antonio and Dallas by an average of 25.4 points.

Following that Dallas game, to avoid overtime in Philadelphia, Harrison Barnes canned a 3-pointer with just a few tenths of a second remaining to win it.

With Curry and Andre Iguodala inactive, to ice Atlanta in overtime, Draymond Green hit an absurd 3-pointer as the shot clock was winding down and just seconds remaining. He was so off-balance, he looked like a girl in one of those loathsome beach photos where they try to capture themselves stretched out in midair.

Although my favorite play has to be the cut-fake, shot-fake, Kawhi Leonard-on-skates 3-pointer in the second quarter of the blowout win over the Spurs in January.

Speaking of the Spurs, to break the record, the Warriors had to win in San Antonio on Sunday — something they hadn’t done since February 1997. To put that in perspective, the last time they won there, “Space Jam” was still in theaters.

It also has to be mentioned that Curry is having the best year of his career, statistically. Not only did he join the 50-40-90 club (shot 50 percent from the field, 45 percent from 3-point range, 90 percent at the free throw line), but he also won the NBA scoring title, averaging 30.1 points per game, which is six points higher than his previous best.

Green became the first player ever with 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 500 assists, 100 steals and 100 blocks.

It’s hard to really do those 82 games justice with one column because it was the most impressive stretch of basketball any of us has ever witnessed.

Basketball heads and hoop novices around the world have been captivated by this Warriors team and, Wednesday, with the record on the line, the entire sports world tuned in to watch (albeit deeply conflicted with Kobe Bryant’s final game going on at the same time).

The celebration will be short-lived, though.

On Saturday the NBA Playoffs begin and Golden State squares off against the Houston Rockets, which it beat in five games in the Western Conference Finals last year.

To really solidify this group as the best ever, the Warriors will need another Larry O’Brien Trophy, and that’s not lost on anyone.

“No matter what happens, this has been an incredible season,” head coach Steve Kerr said after Wednesday’s win. “But it obviously takes on a different meaning if we go on and win the title, and that’s our focus now.”

It seems reasonable given they became the first team in history to go an entire season without losing two in a row, and haven’t lost four out of seven games since the Los Angeles Clippers eliminated them in the first round of the 2013-14 playoffs.

This regular season was special, and one basketball fans will burn to memory. But when the ball tips off Saturday afternoon and the season takes on a whole new meaning, the page becomes blank again.

“We know the gauntlet,” said Klay Thompson. “We know how hard it’s going to be, but really, the regular season did prepare us. We know what we’ve got to do to win. It was just — we’ll look back on this and say it was the best time of my life.

“It’s unbelievable.”

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Email Napa Valley Register Sports Reporter Yousef Baig at ybaig@napanews.com, follow him on Twitter @YousefBaig, or call 256-2212.


Sports Reporter

Yousef was a Napa Valley Register sports reporter from February 2015 to April 2018, and hosted the Napa Register Radio podcast. He is a proud UGA graduate and has written for the Sacramento Bee, The Advocate and the Athens Banner-Herald, among others.

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