In the midst of a historical campaign, defending NBA champion Golden State has become the fastest team to reach 50 wins in league history. While defeating the home-standing Atlanta Hawks 102-92 on Monday night, the Golden State Warriors ran their gaudy seasonal record to 50-5.
That Atlanta just happened to be the latest victim in the Warriors’ bid to break the Chicago Bulls’ vaunted 72-win mark seemed merely coincidental. Opposite the reeling Hawks, reigning league MVP Stephen Curry led all scorers with 36 points. Curry also dished eight assists to spearhead the Warriors’ impressive array of 30-team assists on the evening.
Curry’s fellow All-Star and “Splash Brother” Klay Thompson poured in 27 points to solidify Monday night’s win for the Warriors. In total, Golden State’s high-octane backcourt combined for 63 of the team’s 102 points, while the pair knocked down 10 three-point baskets.
With the triumph, Golden State eclipsed the legendary Chicago Bulls’ record of fastest team to 50 victories by one contest. Regarding his team’s impressive accomplishment, Curry had this to say to ESPN.
“Fifty wins is great, but we’ve got to keep plugging away and staying hungry, because nobody wants to talk about that in June.”
Stephen, the son of former Hornets sharp-shooter and sixth-man extraordinaire Dell Curry, would know something about the pressures of NBA life in June. After winning a league-high 67 regular-season contests in 2015, Curry led the mighty Golden State Warriors to a resounding 4-2 finals triumph over Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
However, Golden State is far from a “one-man show,” as evidenced in last June’s NBA Finals. Former All-Star turned bench maven, Andre Iguodala surprisingly added the honor of Finals MVP to his impressive resume. Now in his 11th professional season, “Iggy” transformed into the Warriors’ main-man in their championship grab. Golden State’s top-dog off the bench revamped his pedestrian regular season averages of 7.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and three assists to 16.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and four assists per outing in Golden State’s finals triumph.
This unexpected, yet M.O.-worthy occurrence was clearly indicative of the Warriors’ unselfish, team-oriented style of play, which currently has the league ablaze. Presently, Golden State leads the NBA in assists averaged per-game at 29.1, points (115), three-point percentage (41.8 percent), three-pointers made (12.9), and ranks second in plus/minus differential (11.5).
Boasting three 2016 NBA All-Stars, combined with a staggering twelve players to average four points per contest or more, the Warriors have re-defined the meaning of “small-ball,” and NBA dominance. Perhaps the most impressive statistic of all for Golden State is the amount of games won since the beginning of last season. The Warriors are an unbelievable 133-25 since the opening tip of 2014-2015. What’s more is that Golden State has been so effective, it doesn’t even seem to matter who the team’s head coach is.
During Head Coach Steve Kerr’s lengthy absence, Assistant Coach Luke Walton was able to guide the Warriors to an ultra-impressive 39-4 mark. Since Kerr’s January 22 return Golden State has amassed a near-perfect record of 11-1. Speaking of Kerr, the six-time NBA champion had this to say to NBA.com regarding his team’s historic victory.
“I liked our response… They were on fire in their home building. Everything was going against us, and we maintained our poise and pulled away down the stretch. It was a really good win.”
Kerr’s mention of Golden State’s poise was apropos, as the Warriors have won 22 contests this season by ten points or fewer. With players such as “Mr. Versatility” Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Andre Iguodala, Andrew Bogut, Shaun Livingston, Festus Ezeli, Leandro Barbosa, Marreese Speights, and Ian Clark all buoying the stellar MVP efforts of reigning League MVP Stephen Curry, the sky is the limit for this special group of NBA history-makers.
[Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images]