It's great to be an NBA fan today. Kobe Bryant just delivered the most tear-inducing farewell game in history with a 60-point Mamba Special in a win. The Detroit Pistons pulled an upset against the East kings, the Cleveland Cavaliers, in OT. And Minnesota Timberwolves rookie Karl Anthony-Towns had a monster 28-14 game in a victory against the Charlotte Hornets.
Yup, great day.
What's that? Oh, yeah, the Golden State Warriors had a pretty good day in the hardcourt too. Steph Curry scored 46 points with 10 three-pointers, which pushed his season total to 402, a game-changer of a record if we've ever seen on. He and his crew beat the Memphis Grizzlies, 125-104, for their 73rd win of the season. (We guess that's kind of impressive.)
Okay, we kid. That's freaking huge. For 20 years, the Chicago Bulls' 72-10 record stood like a monolith invulnerable to the sands of time. No one imagined that it would ever be beaten. Even with the coming of great teams through the decades that followed, few believed that the mark would ever be reached again. After all, in the league's 70-year existence, the '95-'96 Bulls had been the sole team to ever reach 70.
Yet here we are. Before us are the 2015-2016 Golden State Warriors with 73. They're only the second team to reach the 70-win plateau, and now, one marker better than the former record holder. Allow that to sink in for a while.
Right now, you'll hear people saying it won't mean anything unless they win the trophy. And it's true. Anything less than a championship, and this would be a failed season for the Warriors. But the Playoffs is a battle for another day. (And that day is Sunday, to be exact, when the Warriors face the Houston Rockets in Game One of their first round series.) Right now, the Warriors deserve to sip some champagne. Their record—a number that trumps not only the Bulls' but also the Lakers', Celtics' or the Spurs' best-ever regular-season efforts—is a display of outright dominance.
It's a declaration that for the 2015-16 season, the Warriors were a behemoth running roughshod over a league that was not lacking in talent. LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook, just to name a few, had their usual superstar seasons. But that's just it—it felt "usual." The alpha Warrior, Chef Curry, the engine propelling this shuttle to the stratosphere, made their performances look mortal. Every morning, glancing at your feed, it felt like Curry had done something wonderful again. ("And what a role model!" people who like nice-guy type heroes would say!)
Over 82 games, the opponents' general strategy, it felt like, had been "Boy, we sure hope Curry doesn't make his shots today!" Because, truly and to the dismay of every other NBA team, the formula to stop the dazzling shot-maker is still tucked away in the heart of a mystical forest. Like Shaq in his primal years, Curry was a force—a quarter of the size of the Laker giant, but still very much a fucking unstoppable whirlwind, a game-changer.
His talent is such a sight to behold, in fact, that we've forgotten that this was an article about the Warriors.
So allow us to correct this oversight before we end this celebration. Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green, Andrew Bogut, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Leandro Barbosa, Festus Ezeli, Marreese Speights, Brandon Rush, James Michael McAdoo, Anderson Varejao, Ian Clark, Kevon Looney, and coach Steve Kerr—we congratulate you. While you weren't always in the highlights, any true basketball fan knows that such a record wouldn't have been possible if you didn't play as a team. Now, go out there, give this season a mean, nasty Playoff push.
You guys have already etched your name in history. But know this: If you really want to completely lock up your place in NBA 2K30's selection of legendary teams, get that ring.