Basketball

Chasing the Bulls: Warriors become second team ever to win 70 games

The Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green drives between San Antonio Spurs’ Kyle Anderson (1) and Kawhi Leonard on Thursday, April 7, 2016, in Oakland.
The Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green drives between San Antonio Spurs’ Kyle Anderson (1) and Kawhi Leonard on Thursday, April 7, 2016, in Oakland. 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 79 games into the season:

Warriors

April 7, 2016: Stephen Curry scored 27 points and the Golden State Warriors became the second team to win 70 games in a season by beating the San Antonio Spurs 112-101 on Thursday night, wrapping up home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.

The Warriors bounced back from their second loss in three home games two nights earlier against Minnesota and joined the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls as the only teams to win 70 games. Golden State can break Chicago’s single-season record of 72 wins by sweeping the final three games, including a rematch in San Antonio on Sunday.

Kawhi Leonard scored 23 points for the Spurs, who will enter the playoffs next weekend as the second seed in the West.

Player of the game: Curry, who shot 11 of 19 from the field and added nine assists and five rebounds.

Quote: “It’s always difficult, those are two great players (Curry and Klay Thompson) and they involve their teammates, it’s an unselfish team. (Harrison) Barnes had a great game to go along with it, Draymond (Green) was great, so it was a team effort.” – Spurs coach Gregg Popovich

Warriors’ record: 70-9

Bulls

April 16, 1996: The Chicago Bulls stamped a big “70” on a season of superlatives. It just wasn’t the decisive victory they wanted.

The Bulls barely got past the lowly Milwaukee Bucks with a 86-80 victory and didn’t exactly look like the most dominating team in NBA history.

Still, the Bulls surpassed the previous best record in league history, 69-13 by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1971-72.

The Bulls shot just 39 percent, didn’t get a spectacular game from any of their superstars and needed a scoreless final four minutes from the Bucks to make history.

Hundreds of Bulls fans made the 90-mile drive to Milwaukee and bought tickets from scalpers asking $200 per ticket.

Player of the game: Michael Jordan, who put up relatively pedestrian numbers with 22 points on 9-of-27 shooting, but made a big play on defense, blocking a three-point attempt by Johnny Newman with 16 seconds left that could have pulled the Bucks within one.

Quote: “One thing we committed to in the locker room before the game was if they did get 70, they wouldn’t get it easy.” – Milwaukee forward Terry Cummings

Bulls’ record: 70-9

From The Associated Press, compiled by Jon Schultz

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