Basketball

Chasing the Bulls: Warriors hold off Heat

Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) attempts a shot against Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside during the first half Wednesday in Miami.
Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) attempts a shot against Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside during the first half Wednesday in Miami. The Associated Press

The Bee Sports staff tracks the Warriors’ progress toward breaking the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls’ record 72 wins, using a measuring stick from the past to gauge the present. Here’s where the teams stood 56 games into the season:

WARRIORS

Feb. 24, 2016: Stephen Curry connected on the go-ahead three-pointer over the outstretched arm of Miami center Hassan Whiteside with 38 seconds left, and the Golden State Warriors beat the Miami Heat 118-112 in a game that featured 13 lead changes in the fourth quarter alone.

Curry finished with 42 points, and Klay Thompson scored 15 consecutive points for Golden State in the fourth on his way to a 33-point night. Curry made a pair of free throws with 18.5, and soon the Warriors walked off a winner for the 51st time in 56 games this season.

But Miami more than made them earn it. Dwyane Wade had a season-high 32 points and seven assists for the Heat, who led by 12 early and went up 108-107 when Wade made a pair of free throws with 56.5 seconds left.

On the next possession, Whiteside blocked a three-point try from Draymond Green – his Twitter nemesis, after they exchanged words on the social media platform last year – but the ball found its way to Curry, who connected.

Player of the game: Curry, who topped the 40-point mark for the ninth time this season, shot 14 for 29 from the field, including 6 of 12 from three-point range.

Quote: “It was a huge test. On the road, any time you play against a playoff basketball team, it’s going to be a tough task.” – Curry

Warriors’ record: 51-5

BULLS

Feb. 27, 1996: The Bulls reached 50 wins faster than any NBA team when Michael Jordan them out in the fourth quarter of a 120-99 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Bulls led 82-76 after three quarters. But ex-Chicago high school star Kevin Garnett, who had a career-high 20 points, hit two baskets to bring Minnesota within two.

Jordan then scored eight in a 16-2 run that put the Bulls ahead 98-82 with seven minutes left.

Toni Kukoc scored 23 and Dennis Rodman grabbed a season-high 24 rebounds for Chicago.

Player of the game: Jordan had 35 points, including 11 each in the third and fourth quarters.

Quote: “We’re just motoring along. We’re playing ugly basketball and we’re winning. I think we have to put some touches on our game a little.” – Jordan

Bulls’ record: 50-6

The Associated Press

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