Stephen Curry and the Warriors are on their way to trying to eclipse what the 1996 Chicago Bulls did. They reached the 72 win mark last night in their victory over the San Antonio Spurs.
Stephen Curry wasn’t letting go of the basketball. Once he dribbled out the clock, Curry straddled the ball at his hip, clinging to it as he stood on the AT&T Center logo near the San Antonio Spurs’ bench and hugged Draymond Green. Curry managed to keep it connected as he leapt to chest-bump Marreese Speights. It suddenly became part of him as Curry shifted it from arm to arm through three postgame interviews. He didn’t drop it as he smoothly walked through the tunnel, high-fiving and tossing his wrist bands to “MVP”-chanting fans.
Then, once he cleared himself of cameramen and cellphone-snapping onlookers and had a brief moment alone, Curry’s quest for fun kicked in. Curry tossed the ball a few feet above his head and caught it, whirling it around and again placing it at his hip until he completed his lonely but triumphant journey to the Golden State Warriors’ giddy locker room. There, Curry placed the ball in his stall having learned a valuable lesson from his first championship: If you do something significant, hold on.
“Don’t throw the ball,” Curry said with a laugh after the Warriors defeated the San Antonio Spurs 92-86 on Sunday and matched the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls’ record for most regular-season wins with 72.
The Warriors’ ultimate goal remains repeating as NBA champions. And the obsession to set a new mark of 73 victories on Wednesday in the regular season finale at Oracle Arena is much more immediate. But Curry wasn’t about to diminish the importance of what occurred in a building that has tormented him for his entire career, and in a city where the Warriors franchise hadn’t won a regular-season game since 1997. Golden State snapped a 33-game regular-season losing streak that spans Tim Duncan’s entire career, though it is somewhat deceptive since the Warriors won a playoff game in San Antonio in 2013. Coach Steve Kerr brought some levity to the accomplishment by twisting the quote of former tennis star, Vitas Gerulaitis, who ended a 16-game losing streak to Jimmy Connors in 1980.
“With apologies to him, I’ll use his line: Nobody, and I mean nobody, beats the Golden State Warriors 34 times on their home floor,” Kerr said, laughing to himself. “Nobody. You got that?”