They did it.
On the final night of the regular season, the Golden State Warriors made incredible, unbelievable, and unfathomable history. With 20 3-pointers, 46 Stephen Curry points, and a delirious Oracle Arena crowd, the Dubs won their 73rd game of the year, breaking the NBA record for wins in a season.
How the Dubs did it
From the beginning, the Warriors were firing on all cylinders. They scored 37 points in the first quarter, and Steph Curry had 20 of them, including 6 three-pointers. Oracle Arena, clad in royal blue t-shirts, was rocking, and Golden State never looked back.
All game long, the Warriors had the Memphis Grizzlies in a chokehold. They were swinging passes left and right, and -- with the help of a rather laxed defense by the Grizz -- Golden State couldn't miss. 14 and a half minutes into the game, the Warriors had already sunk nine 3-pointers. Curry nailed seven -- seven!!-- in the first half alone, including a pull-up three from just inside the Dubs' logo at center court with 19 seconds on the shot clock. The Warriors finished the first half with 14 team 3-pointers, and they were up on Memphis 70-50.
Golden State sparked a run to start the third quarter. Like they've played all year, they were energized, hustling across the floor and backtapping rebounds with ease. They wanted this win more than anything. In the third, Curry hit his 400th 3-pointer of the season, thoroughly shattering the record he set last year of 286 threes.
Even though Zach Randolph led the Grizz in an attempt to sneak back into it later in the quarter, the Warriors' lead never dipped below 14. The home team wouldn't fret, and their sexy ball movement led to two huge threes at the end of the third -- one from Draymond Green and one from Curry, his 401st of the year.
Curry ended the third with 46 points in 30 minutes, and he didn't play a second of the final quarter. The Warriors had it in the bag. The Grizzlies weren't playing hard, and the Oracle crowd continued to shake Oakland like never before. The buzzer sounded, and the Golden State Warriors had done what many have thought impossible. They had finished the season at 73-9, one win better than the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, whose record was long thought to be unbreakable. The Warriors have been on this path all season long. Everyone wondered if they could actually do it, and tonight, in their final game of the regular season, they answered magnificently.
Golden State's 73rd win was much like the first 72. They pushed the pace, their ball movement was spectacular, and Curry's playmaking was utterly obscene. On a historic NBA night where Kobe Bryant scored 60 points on 50 shots in his career's final game, Curry scored 46 on 24 shots, and 10 of his 16 made field goals were threes. The Warriors were ruthless, energized, and they picked apart the Grizzlies with incredible ease. Their eyes were on the prize for all 48 minutes, and now they have it. Now, Golden State can look with excitement to the playoffs, and their chance to defend their NBA title.
Lines of the Night
Zach Randolph: 26 mins/24 pts/6 rebs/4 asts/2 stls
Matt Barnes: 32 mins/6 pts/9 rebs/6 asts/2 stls
Lance Stephenson: 35 mins/22 pts/4 asts/2 rebs/2 stls/8-14 FG
Stephen Curry: 30 mins/46 pts/6 asts/4 rebs/16-24 FG/10-19 3PT/6-6 FT
Draymond Green: 30 mins/11 pts/9 reb/7 asts/1 stl/1 blk
Shaun Livingston: 21 mins/6 pts/10 asts/3 rebs/+11 plus-minus
Final notes and thoughts
The Warriors set the record they've been chasing all year, but their work is far from finished. They have 16 wins left before they can earn their second title in a row, and their first series begins Saturday at 3:30pm against the Houston Rockets. The Dubs beat the Rockets in the Western Conference Finals a year ago, but things have changed drastically since then. The Rockets have a plethora of issues, and Golden State shouldn't have too many problems with them in the First Round.
While the Grizzlies didn't play their best tonight, they're still looking forward to their sixth straight playoff appearance. On Sunday at 8PM, they begin their series with the San Antonio Spurs, the West's 2-seed. Memphis has battled incredible injuries all year, but with Randolph, Barnes, and Stephenson leading the way, they could still be a tough out this Postseason.