Warriors triumph in pursuit of records

Golden State's Stephen Curry (centre) going up against San Antonio's LaMarcus Aldridge (left) and Kawhi Leonard at the AT&T Centre. The Warriors defeated the Spurs 92-86 on Sunday, tying the all-time record for wins in a season with 72.
Golden State's Stephen Curry (centre) going up against San Antonio's LaMarcus Aldridge (left) and Kawhi Leonard at the AT&T Centre. The Warriors defeated the Spurs 92-86 on Sunday, tying the all-time record for wins in a season with 72. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

They need just one more win to break mark, Spurs' perfect home streak ends

SAN ANTONIO • There are records and then there are monumental records.

The quest for one record was thwarted on Sunday when the Golden State Warriors beat San Antonio 92-86 to end the Spurs' chance of completing the first undefeated home schedule in National Basketball Association (NBA) history.

However, the Warriors' victory kept alive their pursuit of setting the NBA's single-season win mark. The defending champions cemented their place as one of the greatest teams in league history.

The Warriors (72-9) matched the victory total of the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, and can set a new mark with a home win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday.

Much of the credit for Golden State's victory on Sunday goes to Stephen Curry, the Warriors' transcendent point guard, and his 37 points, 16 of them in a pivotal stretch of the third quarter.

ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME CHANCE

We've put ourselves in a great position to do something no other team has ever done... We want to go out and take advantage of an opportunity that may never come again.

STEPHEN CURRY, on trying to break the Chicago Bulls' all-time regular-season record of 72-10 in their final game against Memphis Grizzlies.

A nip-and-tuck game between the teams with the league's two best records turned in the first six minutes of the fourth quarter.

Warriors forward Harrison Barnes had three big baskets and led a group of mostly reserves to a six-point lead over a mixture of Spurs starters and bench players.

From there, Curry and Klay Thompson took over as Golden State turned a four-point lead into a 90-79 advantage on Curry's finger-roll lay-up with 1min 34sec to play.

San Antonio cut the Warriors' lead to four points in the waning seconds but could not complete the comeback.

Golden State handed the Spurs their first home loss of the season and ended San Antonio's franchise-high, 48-game regular-season home winning streak that began on March 12 last year.

The Spurs' streak is the second longest in NBA history, after the Warriors' mark of 54 consecutive home wins that ended last month.

"We are in the moment and enjoying the ride, but the goal is to win a championship," said Curry, who canned a three-quarter court shot at the end of the third period that was waved off as time had expired.

"We've put ourselves in a great position to do something no other team has ever done.

"It's hard to step out of the locker room and understand the hoopla that comes with chasing the record. We want to go out and take advantage of an opportunity that may never come again."

The Warriors also ended their streak of 33 consecutive regular-season defeats at San Antonio. Golden State's last regular-season win in the Alamo City was in 1997.

Golden State took the season series from the Spurs, 3-1.

"Everybody is excited - we just beat a great, great team," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.

"It's one of the best victories of the year, and with that said, it means nothing come play-off time."

The Spurs (65-15) were led by LaMarcus Aldridge's 24 points and Kawhi Leonard's 20 points and 13 rebounds.

Thompson added 14 points for the Warriors, while Draymond Green had 11 points.

Following the milestone win, Chicago Bulls legend Scottie Pippen, who earlier this month said his 1996 Bulls would sweep the 2016 Warriors in a seven-game series and added that he would have kept Curry under 20 points per game, was among the first to acknowledge Golden State's achievement.

"Giving credit where credit is due," he wrote on Twitter.

"Congrats to @SteveKerr and his @warriors on win No. 72. They earned it tonight.

"@StephenCurry30 showed why he's the MVP (Most Valuable Player). As cold-blooded (a) shooter as I've ever seen and a basketball IQ that is off the charts."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 12, 2016, with the headline 'Warriors triumph in pursuit of records'. Print Edition | Subscribe