After gritty win in San Antonio, Golden State can get record 73rd regular-season victory Wednesday against visiting Memphis
POSTED: Apr 11, 2016 2:09 AM ET
Warriors vs. Spurs
Draymond Green talks with NBA TV's Kristen Ledlow on tying the NBA wins record.
SAN ANTONIO — History comes in moments, one snippet at a time.
Like the scene at the end of the third quarter when Steph Curry held the ball one full tick past the expiring clock and let fly with a long, arcing rainbow from a step past the 3-point line at the opposite end of the court, watched it splash into the bottom of the net, then stood there and smiled anyway.
Like midway through the final period when Draymond Green kept a possession alive by leaping to save the ball from going into the backcourt, flipping it to Curry, and jumping up and down with a wagging tongue as the most electric shooter of our time — likely all time — casually flipped in an 18-foot bank shot over the outstretched arms of two defenders.
Like that scene just after the final horn sounded when Green and Curry met in an emotional embrace on the court and exchanged words that held a meaning only truly understood by the two of them.
The Warriors won 92-86 on Sunday night to become the first opponent all season to win on the Spurs' home floor, ended a 33-game regular season losing streak in San Antonio that dated back to Feb. 14, 1997, and, oh yes, tied the legendary, historic Michael Jordan Era Chicago Bulls with their 72nd victory.
Curry On Tying Wins Record
Stephen Curry talks with Kristen Ledlow about tying the 1995-96 Bulls 72 wins against the Spurs in San Antonio.
"What does it mean to have 72?" Green said, repeating the question. "We can get to 73."
That chance arrives Wednesday night at home against Memphis.
History comes in waves, like the relentless sets of breakers that Golden State used to wash over the NBA in a record-setting 24-0 start to the season that planted the flag in the ground and seemed to lift the Warriors up above mere greatness and pushed them on this journey.
All those games and all those nights in all those cities when they took the floor feeling and knowing and playing like they were truly superior to the guys in the other uniforms and never let themselves forget that.
All those other nights when maybe they weren't at their physical or mental peak and had to somehow find a way to get it done. Like just 24 hour earlier in Memphis when it took digging down deep in the final seconds to pull out a victory over an outmanned bunch of Grizzlies to keep the quest alive.
We put ourselves in a great position to end the season with a win and do something that no team has done in history, so that's an amazing accomplishment.
– Stephen Curry
If these same two teams meet again in six weeks in the Western Conference finals, this game will mean nothing then. But that doesn't make it mean nothing today.
"Obviously, we're in the moment, enjoying the ride and the goal is to win a championship," said Curry after scoring 37 points. "That's what we're playing for. But we put ourselves in a great position to end the season with a win and do something that no team has done in history, so that's an amazing accomplishment.
"It's kind of hard to step outside the locker room and understand the spotlight that comes with it or just the hoopla because we come out every night trying to win. But when you think about it, I guess, perspective, only two teams have done what we've done so far and hopefully Wednesday we can finish that off. It's unbelievable."
Despite the offer, even the wish from coach Steve Kerr, that the Warriors regulars might choose to rest up for the fast approaching playoffs, there was never a question that any of them would sit with their feet up.
"I tried to do it with the way I played and obviously the decision on resting or not was a pretty easy decision for me," Curry said. "I'm not nursing any injuries, I don't think putting myself in a position to be a step slow come the playoffs. So why not go out and take advantage of an opportunity that may never come again?"
Kerr, of course, is the link, having played for 20 years ago for the 72-10 Bulls.
Analysis: Warriors Tie Bulls with 72 Wins
NBA TV's Kristen Ledlow and Steve Smith break down the Warriors keys to win and the Spurs offensive struggles.
History comes in memories.
"I thought as a player it seemed like a bigger deal because the players talk about it, think about it," Kerr said. "We never talked about it as a staff here this year. It's really a players' reward, a players' honor, a players' record. They're the ones that go out and play. It probably meant more to me back then personally. But to see the look on these guys faces knowing that they have a chance to break the record and at least they tied it, they're pretty excited and that's what's great about coaching, when you see your team smiling and happy."
Kerr expected to hear from at least a few of his old Chicago teammates.
"Jud Buechler will call me to congratulate me," he said. "That's my guy. Luc Longley will have some snarky joke for me. And everybody else will just mutter expletives under their breath and leave me alone."
Especially Scottie Pippen, who has famously pronounced that the Bulls would have swept the Warriors 4-0 in a playoff series.
"With Pip coming out and saying what he said, that's cool," Green said with a smile and a shrug. "We respect those guys. We got one of them in our locker room.
"Mike told me at All-Star: 'Go get the record. If you don't win this record, I'm gonna be hot and I'm blaming you.' We're almost there.
I don't know what the emotions are gonna be, but I know we'll be ready.
– Draymond Green on Wednesday's finale against the Grizzlies
"I remember watching them at four, five, six years old. But to go back and watch them now and understand what's really going on, that's special.
"It's crazy. When you sit and think that there's six-year-old Draymond thinking that he knows what he's looking at but really don't have a clue. Then to think that there's a 13-year-old Draymond who's watching Kobe Bryant and like, 'Man, that's my favorite player and I'm star-struck by him.' Then to one day come in this league maybe [somebody will] have the same affection about us is a blessing and I don't take it for granted. That's what it's all about. To continue to pave the way for younger guys like older guys did for us and leave the game in better standing than it was when you go there."
Curry was a kid who got a behind-the-scenes look at those famous Bulls as the son of ex-player Dell Curry growing up in the NBA.
"They were synonymous with winning and championship and that word elite," Curry said. "I do remember going to the Charlotte Hornets' Coliseum and watching my dad play and you knew when the Bulls were town, that was a game you tried not to miss, no matter what my parents restrictions where on going to games on school nights. You tried not to miss the show.
"I remember as a kid being in the back, in the tunnel, hoping to cross paths with Jordan, Pippen, (Dennis) Rodman and Coach Kerr. That was just something that was a special time as a kid. ... You knew what it meant when they were in town and playing."
Now these Warriors are the 21st century Bulls. Now they are the show and you know what it means when they come to town to play. Now they have their chance to take a step above those Bulls on Wednesday night.
"I don't know what the emotions are gonna be, but I know we'll be ready," Green said. "It's gonna be a great game for us to be in front of our fans with the opportunity to clinch the best record of all time. To bring that back to Oakland? To bring that back to the Bay? It's special. And we got the opportunity."
History comes to be embraced.
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