The NBA recently had its biggest night in regular season history. The Golden State Warriors won their 73rd game. In 82 tries. When you lose as many games as a cat has lives you are probably on to something. Single digit losses in the modern era, in the 21st century Western Conference is unbelievable. But for one night, this season didn’t belong to the Warriors; April 13, 2016, was the night Kobe Bean Bryant played his final NBA game. The magic fairy wrote one hell of a tale, to the tune of Bryant’s 60 points, climaxing during his go-ahead jumper with 31.6 seconds left. Bryant’s final two career points came via the charity stripe, just like his idol Michael Jordan.
Jordan’s 1995-96 Bulls have been busy lately, playing in a hypothetical game of fantasy basketball against the 2015-16 Warriors. Rodman had to come all the way back from North Korea. I don’t know who would win a game between the two teams, who possibly could? I do know that the Warriors just put together one of the best regular seasons in any sport, in any era. They broke a record many pundits deemed unbreakable, and they did so in electrifying fashion, mastering and evolving a playing style first introduced by the ‘7 seconds or less’ Phoenix Suns. There will be a asterisk beside the ‘best season ever claim’ until a champion is crowned in June. The only thing that matters for the Warriors is that 2nd straight championship. In the meantime, Golden State deserves all the praise they’re receiving. This was a truly historic accomplishment, a surreal season for the ages filled with extraordinary stats, and broken records by both the Warriors as a team, and Stephen Curry individually.
15. Best Road Record Ever
The Warriors finished with a 34-7 record on the road, one more win than the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls. Sound familiar? They have become the most popular team in the league, and are rock stars on the road. Fans arrive to games hours before tip off to get a glimpse of the Warriors’ warmup. Curry’s pre game routine has become legendary, he drains shots you couldn’t imagine attempting in the first place. I would not want to face him in a game of horse; I’d be at horse before you could say American Pharaoh. Every road game they played was an event, with a playoff type atmosphere, a truly impressive feat, especially considering the next tidbit.
14. Most Miles Traveled
No, there is not a stat for most travel violations, but the Warriors did travel in airplanes farther than any other team, a mere 53,575 miles. To put that in perspective, the Cavaliers flew 35,055 miles. Still a good amount of rewards points, but 20,000 miles less than the squad who broke their hearts in last year’s NBA finals. Sure, the Warriors weren’t flying coach, but the constant travel takes its toll both physically and mentally. Calling home somewhere on the west coast ensures you play several back to backs in the eastern time zone.
13. Combined Team 3’s In A Single Game
The Warriors (21) and Mavericks (18) broke the combined single game 3-pointer record, 39 3’s in a game featuring a Warriors 128-120 victory. This broke the record of 37, set just weeks before by the Trail Blazers and the Warriors. They are a team so efficient beyond the arc, especially when you consider their sheer volume of attempts. The 3 point shot is their deadliest weapon. If their opponent ventures into a shooting contest, it’s another W for the Dubs.
Bonus 2016 Warriors record: Most all time single season 3’s (1,762).
12. # of Silicon Valley Venture Capitalists Who Took Credit For The Warriors Success: 1
This isn’t as much a stat, as it is a ludicrous thought from Warriors owner Joe Lacob who said he is as much to thank for the Warriors turn around as Curry. “The great, great venture capitalists who built company after company, that’s not an accident,” Lacob said. “And none of this is an accident, either.” I’m going to go out on a limb and say the players, coaches, and management, are the reasons for the Warriors’ extraordinary success.
But hey, if Lacob didn’t buy the team in 2010 for a then record $450 million, the ensuing butterfly effect would have undoubtedly changed the course of the franchise. We’ll give you that Mr. Billionaire.
11. Award For Best Foreshadowing Quote
“I apologize for us being healthy, I apologize for us playing who was in front of us. I apologize for all the accolades we received as a team and individually. I’m very, truly sorry, and we’ll rectify that situation this year.” – Steph Curry
This was Curry’s tongue in cheek response directed at critics who claimed the Warriors had an easy path on their way to the 2015 NBA championship. As if Curry needed another reason to play with a chip on his shoulder, something he’s done his whole career. No one is questioning the Warriors’ status as the top team in the league. Situation rectified.
10. Luke Walton Credited With 0 Wins
Steve Kerr missed the first 43 games of the seasons while recovering from offseason back surgery. Luke Walton, winner of two titles with the Lakers as a player, and the son of Bill, one of the greatest humans on planet earth, was named interim head coach and compiled a 39-4 record. This included two straight coach of the month awards while coaching the Warriors to a 24-0 start. Yet, his career coaching record officially sits at 0-0. Why? Ask the NBA. Though that answer isn’t going to provide you satisfaction either. Thanks to a ridiculous technicality, Kerr is credited with all 73 wins. Luke Walton, always a groomsmen, never the groom.
9. First Duo To Hit 600 3’s In One Season
The Splash Brothers combined for 525 3’s during the 2014-15 season, and 484 the year before. This year they were in a different universe, think ‘Batman v. Superman’, but on the same team. The tandem had 678 (!!!) 3’s, more than 14 teams combined. Stephen Curry is the unanimous best shooter in the world, but Klay Thompson comes incredibly close to matching him. Thompson is dynamic when he gets the chance to catch and shoot. His 37 point quarter last season was as incredible as anything Curry has ever done.
8. Never Lost Back To Back Games
1st time ever. Get used to hearing those words. There is a definite echo in here. The Warriors blew out the their fair share of hapless combatants, but they are no stranger to dancing with the devil, many of their games coming down to the wire. Naturally, luck is involved, but if you believe in luck, you should believe clutch also exists, and the Warriors were as clutch as an Advil in the middle of a hangover. For comparison’s sake: Their Bay Area sibling Oakland Raiders lost the same amount of games in 66 less appearances, and lost back to back on two separate occasions.
7. Stephen Curry 50 points, 3 Times Before The 4th Quarter
Only 17 times in NBA history has a player scored 50 points in 36 minutes or less. Yet, 17 % of these games belong to Curry, THIS season. He did it on three occasions, sitting out 4th quarters with the games out of reach. It is an advantage for Curry to play less minutes, so he is as fresh possible come playoff time, but you have to wonder how many points he would score if teams could actually keep up with the Warriors. One of these games Curry is going to put up 70. It will not be surprising.
6. Quickest Playoff Berth Ever
It wasn’t even March and the Warriors had already punched their ticket to the playoffs. They beat the 1986 Celtics by one day, with 25 games remaining in the season. At 52-5, they could have forfeited the rest of their games, and still finished 5th in the Western Conference, and 3rd in the Eastern Conference. If only the Warriors weren’t chasing 73 wins, they could have experimented for a few months. Imagine allowing Curry to shoot 50 3’s in one game, he’d absolutely give Wilt’s 100 a run for its money.
5. Stephen Curry Shooting A Deep 3 Is More Valuable Than A Slam Dunk
More crazy Curry stats. From 28 feet to 50 feet, he's 35-of-52 this season. Better efficiency than making 100% of your 2s
— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) February 26, 2016
Wait, what? Based on the numbers from this tweet, if Curry’s made 35 3’s out of those 52 shots, he’ll have 105 points. If you were to dunk the ball all 52 times and make it each time, you’d only score 104 points. Curry shooting from deep 3 point territory is literally more efficient than somebody unguarded dropping the ball in the basket. If any other player started shooting at these distances, they would be chided immediately. For Curry, it’s simply a part of his ever growing repertoire.
4. Longest Home Winning Streak In NBA History
Another record held by the 1995-96 Bulls that could not withstand the wrath of the 2015-16 Warriors. Records are made to broken but it couldn’t have been easy for the Bulls players to watch so many of their records fall in the same year. The Bulls won 44 home games in a row, this was easily eclipsed by the Warriors new benchmark of 54. It looked as though the Spurs may surpass that number, albeit one crucial issue was standing in their way.
Warriors @ Spurs was the first time a game was played between two teams with 65 or more wins. The Warriors prevailed, ending the Spurs home winning streak, and preventing them from becoming the first team ever to go 41-0 at home. Sorry San Antonio, only Golden State gets to break records this year.
3. Stephen Curry – 402 3’s
Sure, maybe the headline of this article contains some minor hyperbole, but Curry’s numbers this season literally make my jaw drop. He passed himself for second most single season 3’s made, and then he passed himself again for the most ever, with an increase of a bewildering 116. In a game against Oklahoma , Curry tied an NBA record for 3’s in a game; 12 treys during a 46 point masterpiece. In the last two seasons Curry has hit more 3’s (688) than Larry Bird did in his 13-year career (649), and more than MJ did (581) in his 15 years.
2. Best Start to a Season In ANY Major Sport
Not only was the Warriors 24-0 start to the season the best start in NBA history, it also takes the cake when compared to the three other major sports in North America. They surpassed the NHL record of 10 wins to start a season set by the 1993-94 Toronto Maple Leafs and 2006-07 Buffalo Sabres, the 16 games in the New England Patriots’ perfect NFL season in 2007, and the MLB record 20 games set by the St. Louis Maroons in 1884.
Most impressive is that the Warriors are the defending champions, they spent the summer celebrating, which typically leads to a “championship hangover” to begin the season. I guess they remembered to chug some water and pop a few Advil before training camp.
1. 73 Wins
In the age of extreme parity, where almost every team is competitive, it is downright astonishing that a team won this many games in a single season. Even more unbelievable is that it was achieved by a Western Conference team, a powerhouse conference of elite squads, with talent and depth never seen in the NBA until now. Every team who played the Warriors treated it as a playoff game, using their whole arsenal in hopes of being one of the few teams to defeat the historic 2015-16 Golden State Warriors. The end result: teams won a diminutive 10.98 % of the time.
The math tells us the Warriors won a staggering 89.02% of their games. Steph Curry didn’t even earn that high of a grade in high school gym class. A team performance for the ages, we salute you Golden State.
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