The Warriors began this season 24-0. They ended it 73-9. Last night, your Golden State Warriors completed the greatest regular season in NBA history, and in its doing, laid waste to an entire era of the sport.
Some people like close games. It’s exciting, they say. It’s funner, they say. They are morons.
Blowouts. 20-point leads going into the 4th quarter. Utter destruction and humiliation. That’s fun. That’s what I like. That’s what we got last night as the Warriors saw that it was the Memphis Grizzlies that stood between them and history. Poor Memphis. There is a way to beat the Warriors. It’s happened nine times this season. The memo went out to the league some time ago keep the Warriors offense in the half-court; for God’s sake, do NOT run with the Warriors. Memphis ran with the Warriors. Tried to run. Draymond flexed, Steph chewed, Klay took a puff, and the Warriors ended the game in the first quarter, 37-23.
Michael Jordan. For nearly all of us, MJ embodied the modern NBA. Gone were the short shorts and chest passes and in came the lights, cameras, and action. Oh, without a doubt, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird ushered in that era, but it was perfected in Michael. In modern American sports, no other team had such a stranglehold on their sport like the Michael Jordan Bulls in the 1990s NBA Championships in 1991, 1992, 1993, a two-year break during MJ’s mysterious first retirement, and then a second three-peat in 1996, 1997, and 1998. Those Bulls are the standard to which all other NBA teams aspire, and of those, it is the 1995-96 team that is at the vanguard. In that season, Michael scored the most points in the league (for the eighth time), was the league MVP, All-Star Game MVP, and Finals MVP. Phil Jackson was the Coach of the Year. Tony Kukoc was the Sixth Man of the Year. Michael and Scottie Pippen made the All-NBA First Team and Michael, Scottie, and Dennis Rodman made the NBA All-Defensive First Team. All three would later be enshrined in the basketball hall of fame. That team was as serious as a heart-attack.
They are considered by all to be the greatest team ever assembled. They went 72-10.
Exactly 20 seasons later, that record that heretofore was thought unbreakable, broke. The Warriors broke all the records, pulling those dusty old vinyl disks out of their sleeves and flung them like frisbees across Oracle Arena. 72-10, broken. Most threes by a player, broken. Most threes by a duo, broken. Most threes by a team, broken. Consecutive games with a three, broken. Basically, hella threes. Steph entered last night’s game with 392 threes on the season, needing eight more to reach a totally arbitrary, but round 400. Steph hit six in the 1st quarter and finished with 10 in the game he didn’t play the 4th quarter. This is unbelievable: the difference between Steph’s new 3-point record of 402 in a season and the second place guy is the same as the difference between the second place guy and the 155th guy. The second place guy, of course, is also Steph. The third place guy? Klay. Steph is also the fourth place guy. To do what Steph did to the three this season would be akin to someone passing Barry Bonds’ single season homer record of 73 by hitting 103 home runs. LOL.
Is this Warriors team the greatest team in NBA history? Have fun with that debate. Who cares. Think of what this squad of magnificent bastards did. 73-9. They’ve lost fewer games than the Niners (sorry Daisy). They have turned traditional notions of outside-in basketball inside-out. That isolation play where that one guy has the ball with that one guy defending while the other eight guys stand around watching? Have fun with that. How about dumping it in to the big man underneath so he can brutalize his way to the hoop? Okie. The Warriors will give you your two points they’ll take their three at the other end though, sooo yeah. This is the new era. The Warriors are the new team. Steph, for now, is the new Michael Jordan. 73-9 is the new 72-10.
And none of this means a thing without a ring. Playoffs start Saturday against Houston.
etcetera I hated him every step of the way, but now that he’s finally hung up his jersey, I gotta give some respect to Kobe Bryant for his performance last night. Classic Kobe, who, on the night the Warriors broke one of sports most hallowed records, stole the limelight by dropping 60 points in his final game. It’s fitting though. Moments after the Warriors broke Michael Jordan’s Bulls’ record, Kobe, the greatest of Michael Jordan clones, ended his career by taking 50 shots. The poster child of volume shooting dropped his mic as the poster children of shooting efficiency reached their zenith. Basketball is dead. Long live Baskeball!