Warriors set mark, march on

Utah blow it in OT as Golden State win record 68th game; Spurs' 63rd victory ties their best

SALT LAKE CITY (Utah) • It was not easy, but the Golden State Warriors earned an impressive franchise record on Wednesday.

They are closing in on an even more impressive mark. Stephen Curry scored 31 points and the Warriors overcame a double-digit, second-half deficit for a 103-96 overtime victory over the Utah Jazz.

Golden State won their sixth consecutive game and second in as many nights. The Warriors (68-7) set a single-season franchise record for victories, topping the 67 they won last year en route to the National Basketball Association title.

Klay Thompson forced overtime with a three-pointer with 15 seconds left in regulation. He scored 18 points as the Warriors inched closer to the all-time record win total of 72.

"They are amazing," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of his players.

Golden State guard Stephen Curry going up for a shot as Utah centre Rudy Gobert blocks him. The Warriors won 103-96 in overtime and need just five more victories to exceed the Chicago Bulls' season best.
Golden State guard Stephen Curry going up for a shot as Utah centre Rudy Gobert blocks him. The Warriors won 103-96 in overtime and need just five more victories to exceed the Chicago Bulls' season best. PHOTO: REUTERS

"Nothing really went our way for most of the night, and they kept fighting, you know. We always compete. That's the great thing about this team. That's why we have this record. Our guys compete every night."

The Warriors need five wins in their final seven games to surpass the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, who went 72-10, for the most victories in a single regular season.

Gordon Hayward scored 21 points and Rodney Hood added 20 points for the Jazz, who had won eight of 10 games.

"It was tough," Hayward said. "Felt like we played well enough to win tonight. Didn't get the plays we needed down the stretch to secure the win, but they are a good team."

Utah are now tied with the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks in the battle for the last two Western Conference play-off berths. All three teams are 37-38.

This was a disappointing result for the Jazz, especially considering they had a three-point lead with 24 seconds left. Even more frustrating for Utah, though, was their performance from the free-throw line. They made only 13 of 29 free throws, a measly 44.8 per cent, to blow a golden opportunity to put the Warriors away before crunch time.

Hayward gave the Jazz an early lead in overtime, but Utah's offence wilted under the pressure after that. Curry scored six straight points and Draymond Green (13 points) put the exclamation mark on the Warriors' win with a strong slam dunk for a 101-93 lead.

"We really had to battle all the way to the end," Curry said. "Klay hit a huge shot, and we got a big stop at the end of regulation. We used that momentum into overtime. The defence really carried us in overtime."

While the Warriors continued to close in on the regular-season wins record, the San Antonio Spurs broke one mark set by that Michael Jordan-led Bulls team with their 38th straight home win of the season.

Argentinian veteran Manu Ginobili scored 20 points, including nine in the fourth quarter, to help the Spurs finish off a 100-92 triumph over the injury-depleted New Orleans Pelicans. The Spurs improved to 63-13, matching a franchise record for wins in a season.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 01, 2016, with the headline 'WARRIORS SET MARK, MARCH ON'. Print Edition | Subscribe