OAKLAND, Calif. (Reuters) - The Golden State Warriors earned a National Basketball Association record-setting 73rd regular season victory on Wednesday with a 125-104 blowout win over the Memphis Grizzlies.
The victory came in the final game of the 82-game regular season and snapped the previous record of 72 wins set by Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls during the 1995-96 season.
“It was a great way to finish off what was an incredible regular season,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who was on the Bulls team that held the previous record, told a news conference.
“I don’t think this one will ever be broken. Someone has to go 74-8 and I don’t see it. And I hope our fans aren’t expecting it next season. Now obviously we want to finish off the season in the right way and it’s going to be a lot of work.”
To reach the once unthinkable 73-win plateau, the defending NBA champion Warriors made a record 24-0 start to the campaign, won their first 36 home games, became the first team not to lose consecutive games and had a record 34 road wins.
Any question of whether the Warriors would break one of the NBA’s most storied records was answered early as Golden State, powered by reigning league Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry, came out firing against Memphis.
Curry scored a game-high 46 points, including 10 three-pointers to reach a record 401 on the season.
By the time Curry hit his fifth three-pointer of the game with about four minutes left in the first quarter, the raucous crowd at Oracle Arena was on its feet chanting “MVP! MVP!” and the Warriors were well on their way to win No. 73.
Kerr later expressed relief to have his team escape the regular season healthy after chasing a record even though they had the top playoff seed secured.
“Everybody is in a good spot and that was my main concern coming down the stretch,” said Kerr, whose team will host the Houston Rockets in their playoff opener on Saturday.
“I was really worried about somebody getting hurt. But you worry about that every year, the difference was we wanted to get this record the guys wanted it.”
After the Warriors won last year’s championship some implied it was less valid as they managed to avoid certain teams while some of their opponents were hit by injuries.
Rather than shrug off the comments, the Warriors used them as motivation for the current season.
“When we showed up at training camp there was obviously talk about it and we wanted to have a great start to the season which is what we did with that 24-0 start, and from there raised the bar of expectation for ourselves,” said Curry.
“That’s really all it’s about. The expectation we put on ourselves in that locker room. We don’t need any extra motivation but we seem to be getting it a lot.”
Editing by Frank Pingue