The Golden State Warriors broke the NBA single-season wins record on Wednesday night with a 125-104 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.
It happened. Even if you didn’t see it, it definitely happened. Here’s the box score.
No, stop. Kobe Bryant is not supposed to be the story right now. Stop. STOP.
I’M TRYING TO TELL YOU ABOUT A TEAM, THIS YEAR, THE 2015-16 SEASON, THAT BROKE THE ALL-TIME NBA WINS RECORD. THE 1995-96 CHICAGO BULLS’ 72 WINS RECORD IS DONE. KAPUT. FINISHED.
No. I know Kobe Bryant scored a league season-high 60 points and took a record-breaking 50 shots and single-handedly hauled his team back from the clutches of defeat in the final game of his career. I saw that he ended his career with a full court pass for a game-icing assist followed by an embrace from all of his teammates.
But I’m telling you an NBA team won 73 games in one season. Seventy-three. They lost nine. They lost single-digit games over an 82 game stretch.
Yes, Kobe had a very special moment with his family after the game and gave a great postgame speech to a sellout crowd at Staples Center. Everyone saw. Shaq was there. So was Magic Johnson. So was Adam Morrison.
But a team finished an NBA season having not lost back-to-back games all year. They set the record for road wins in a single-season. They had a streak of 54 consecutive home wins, another NBA record. And they capped all of it off by winning their 73rd game in a rout.
No, stop it. I heard about Kobe’s press conference. He spoke a lot of Spanish. He’s fluent in like, 17 languages. I think it’s great, but it’s not the point right now.
Stephen Curry had 46 points through three quarters, including a 20-point first quarter and a 21-point third quarter. He didn’t play in the fourth quarter for the 19th time this season. He also hit 10 threes in the game to give him 402 for the season. It was BONKERS and he did it in true Steph fashion, disrespecting everyone with a chest tap and a cheesy grin.
YES. I KNOW KOBE HIT A GAME-WINNER IN HIS FINAL GAME. I SAW. EVERYONE SAW.
IS IT EVEN GETTING THROUGH TO YOU THAT AN NBA TEAM JUST SET WHAT IS LIKELY AN IMPOSSIBLE RECORD TO BREAK? 73 FREAKING WINS. DO YOU CARE? DOES ANYONE CARE? IS THIS THING EVEN ON?
The Warriors went 73-9 this season and completed their record-breaking year by demolishing the Grizzlies. It was a Warriors performance we’ve come to expect with Steph Curry dropping 46 points, hitting 10 threes – you know how the rest goes.
About 400 miles down I-5, the real story was happening. Kobe Bryant, in his final NBA game, was busy hanging up 60 on 50 shots against the Utah Jazz. It was the quintessential Bryant performance and it outshined the Warriors capping the best regular season in history.
And why not?
Some people bemoaned Bryant being the story of the night with history happening at Oracle Arena. But the Warriors winning was all but a foregone conclusion. 73 wins looked inevitable after the Warriors dismantled the Spurs in San Antonio on Sunday to move to 72-9. Not to mention the Grizzlies were traveling on a back-to-back and the Warriors were coming off two days rest. The Warriors were favored by a light 18 points.
Bryant’s performance was much less expected, and therefore more captivating. Not only that, but it was. Fun. As. Hell. Jokes flew in the lead up to the game on Bryant breaking the field goal attempts record. Bryant made those jokes a reality as he hoisted up 50 shots while pouring in 60 points. It was riveting television.
I’ve been a Warriors fan all my life and even I switched over to the Lakers game immediately after the clock hit 0:00 at Oracle. I had to see it. I had to witness it in some capacity to see just what else might happen. Will he get to 60? 65? Will they go to an overtime or two and give him a shot to go for 80? There was so much fun, awesome basketball shit that could happen, and most of it did! How could you not be watching this and talking about it? There was nothing new to say about the Warriors turning an NBA team into a JV squad. There was everything to say about what Kobe was accomplishing. All the Warriors postgame stuff was on DVR. It could wait. (Spoiler alert: The Warriors postgame stuff was super boring).
Kobe, on the other hand, needed to be seen live. It was one of the most divisive figures in the NBA coming up with a signature moment that nobody thought he had left. He embodied an entire 20-year career in one basketball game. It was awesome. Then it was capped off by a light-hearted speech that was the perfect amount of funny and touching. It was graceful, it was confident – it was Kobe.The night belonged to number 24.
The Warriors will surely get their due. They’ll go down as the best regular season team of all-time. If they win a championship, we won’t stop hearing about 73-9 all summer and probably through most of next season.
On Wednesday night, the 73-win Dubs rightly took a back seat to Kobe Bryant. It was the last chance NBA fans would have to see the Black Mamba, and he delivered the kind of performance that only he could. The kind of performance that could, even if just for one night, overshadow history.
Experiment 626. Coffee drinker and cat enthusiast. Pro-avocado. Anti-sac bunt. Habitual bat flipper. Alex Smith apologist. Yoenis Cespedes fanboy.