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Warriors Classics: Dubs Win 2OT-Thriller in Boston to Improve to 24-0
24 Straight Wins Remains Best Start to a Season in History of American Pro Sports
The Warriors didn’t know it at the time when the final buzzer sounded, but their 124-119 double overtime victory in Boston on Dec. 11, 2015, would be their final victory of an undefeated start to the season. That victory brought them to 24-0.
Pause, read that again.
24 and 0.
There were plenty of fun moments on the way to the best start to a season in professional sports history, but perhaps it’s fitting that this streak reached its peak with a gutsy, emotionally draining win that tested this team’s metal. And as you’d expect in a game that had a postseason level of intensity, the veterans came through.
On his way to a second straight, and this one unanimous, MVP honor, Warriors guard Stephen Curry knocked down a three-pointer to give the Warriors a lead in the final minute of regulation as part of a 38-point night, Andre Iguodala hit a clutch trey of his own in the first overtime period and a sweet dish from Draymond Green and a crafty finish from Shaun Livingston in the second overtime were all crucial plays in a game that featured 22 lead changes and 16 ties.
Curry logged 47 minutes in the dog fight and had six 3-pointers to go along with a 14-for-14 performance from the free throw line, and Draymond Green did it all with 24 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists, five steals and a career-high tying five blocks. Iguodala, who hit a pair of game-clinching free throws with five seconds left, had 13 points, and Livingston and Festus Ezeli each had 12 points off the bench. Curry, Green Iguodala and Ezeli all had double-doubles, as the Warriors survived a game in which they were down a pair of starters (Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes), shot 39 percent from the field and made fewer 3-pointers (nine) than the opposition for the first time this season.
But the Dubs made the plays when they mattered most, shooting 4-for-7 from the field and 6-for-6 from the free throw line in the final overtime, while holding a gritty Boston club to just 4-of-12 shooting from the floor.
The undefeated streak would come to an end the next night in Milwaukee, marking the first defeat of the season and the first experienced by interim head coach Luke Walton, who had stepped in for Steve Kerr for the first few months of the season as Kerr dealt with complications to a pair of offseason back surgeries.
As for the winning streak, it actually spanned more than a half year if you go back to the 2015 NBA Finals, when the Warriors won the final three games of the series to take home their first NBA Championship in 40 years.
But the 24 wins to start the 2015-16 title defense season, well that was the best start to a season ever, even better than the 1884 St. Louis Maroons of the Union Association, a predecessor of Major League Baseball. Yes, those St. Lous Maroons. In the NBA, the 1993-94 Houston Rockets had started the season 15-0, and 21 years later the Warriors improved on that streak by 60 percent.
Of those 24 wins, only 10 came on the team’s home court at Oracle Arena in Oakland. 15 wins came against teams from the Western Conference, 13 came against teams .500 or better, and 13 came against teams that made the playoffs a year ago. Six wins came on the back end of a back-to-back, while two came by way of overtime victories, with the 24th and final victory of the streak going to double-OT. Golden State scored at least 100 points in each of those 24 victories, and their plus-340 scoring margin over that span ranks as the third-largest point differential in NBA history through the season’s first 24 games.
Simply put, it was an incredible run during an incredible season – despite how it ended – during a golden era of Warriors basketball.
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