The Warriors are on the cusp of tying a remarkable team record and possibly breaking it — best-ever start to an NBA season. The mark is 15-0, and Golden State can tie it Sunday in Denver then potentially break it Tuesday at home against the lowly 2-10 Los Angeles Lakers if they can get by the 6-7 Nuggets.
The record has stood for 67 years, and it was equaled by the 1993-94 Houston Rockets. We know a little bit about those Rockets, who not only went 15-0 to start, they won seven more in a row after their first loss and were 22-1 at one point. They only wound up winning 58 games, but nonetheless captured the NBA title behind Hakeem Olajuwon with role players like Kenny Smith, Otis Thorpe, Vernon Maxwell, Robert Horry, and even a former Warrior, Mario Elie.
But what of the 1948-49 Washington Capitols, who established this venerable record? What do we know about them? Not much. For starters, it wasn’t even the NBA then — it was the Basketball Association of America, and it wouldn’t become the NBA until a year later when the BAA merged with the National Basketball League.
LOS ANGELES — Blake Griffin went through the box score and noted the Warriors’ late-game greatness. Eight of their last nine 3-point attempts were good in the fourth quarter. They were 11 for 15 from the field to finish the game overall and nine for 10 from the free throw line.
“Those numbers are insane,” Griffin said Thursday after the Warriors’ 124-117 win.
After the Warriors came back from 23 points down on the road as the Clippers coughed up the lead, Griffin was asked about the rivalry.
But to have a rivalry, it’s got to be more evenly matched. The Warriors have a championship and have now beaten the Clippers in five of their past six meetings. As Klay Thompson said last month, the Warriors have smacked the Clippers.
“I wouldn’t really call this a rivalry,” Griffin said. “They have the upper hand. They’re the better team. They have been the last two games, last year. We’re trying to get to where they’re at.”
Golden State Warriors new head coach Steve Kerr smiles during a press conference at the Warriors’ practice facility in downtown Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, May 20, 2014. Kerr is currently a TNT commentator, was the general manager of the Phoenix Suns, and was a guard with the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs. He is one of two players to win two championships with two different teams. in consecutive seasons. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)
LOS ANGELES – Steve Kerr made a regular season road trip for the first time and appeared at the Warriors’ shootaround, but his presence doesn’t mean he’s necessarily close to a return to the bench.
“I think the better question or more pertinent is once he starts being more engaged in practice or feeling up to it or starts asking me something like, ‘Hey, when do you think I should go back?’” Warriors general manager Bob Myers told 95.7 The Game on Wednesday.
“Hopefully it’s at some point. I mean, we don’t pressure him at all, but just want him to feel better and get better. But it’s hard to put a timeline on it.”
Kerr, who has a home in San Diego, previously traveled with the team on its preseason trip to Southern California while on his leave of absence following two offseason back surgeries.
Interim head coach Luke Walton said before the Warriors’ game against the Los Angeles Clippers that Kerr’s presence was welcomed.
“It’s great,” Walton said. “He delivered a phenomenal message to the guys today. It’s nice having him here and around instead of at home all the time.”
The Golden State Warriors’ Shaun Livingston (34) plays touch defense against the Houston Rockets’ Corey Brewer (33) in the second quarter of Game 1 of the NBA Western Conference finals at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, May 19, 2015. (Dan Honda/Bay Area News Group)
MINNEAPOLIS – Warriors guard Shaun Livingston will never forget how coach Flip Saunders helped revive his career.
Livingston had gotten waived by the Oklahoma City Thunder before the Washington Wizards signed him in 2010. Saunders gave him more than just a shot to play in Washington. Livingston became a regular starter with the Wizards and for the first time since suffering his major knee injury.
“After playing the season with him, I just felt like I understood the NBA game, and that was the first time I really understood it,” Livingston said of Saunders. “I always had a high IQ, but just as far as time and score and just as a pro, he was a guard’s coach.
“He gave me the opportunity to implant me back into the NBA. Just to be somewhat relevant again…he gave me an opportunity. He blessed me an opportunity and allowed me to a chance to make the most of it.”
Livingston called Saunders an offensive genius and said the coach put him in the post a lot and influenced him to start implementing that part of his game. These days, Warriors fans can see that using his 6-foot-7 frame to back down defenders is among Livingston’s go-to moves.
Five years after Livingston started 18 of 26 games for the Wizards, he became an NBA champion in June. Two weeks ago, Saunders died at age 60 after a battle with cancer. In his last year of coaching, Saunders returned to the bench with the Minnesota Timberwolves, who the Warriors play Thursday.
“He is definitely special, a special part of my journey,” Livingston said.
Stephen Curry and the Warriors tied their first-round playoff series with the Clippers at 2-2 with a dominant win Sunday. (AP photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez).
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Listen to the crowd at FedExForum react to Stephen Curry’s 40-foot shot that elicited shock and awe.
The Memphis Grizzlies were sunk after that and lost 100-84 to the Warriors as once again, Curry torched them from way downtown at the third quarter buzzer.
“It’s deflating for them in that it’s an ugly game, real physical and congested the whole team, and we were able to open it up with an 11-point lead.
“We’d like to have something to show for how well we were playing.”
The sequence that led to the shot shows why Curry has established himself as the frontrunner for MVP again. Yes, he’s shooting crazy shots and making them. But he also has a well-rounded game, as he collected one of his five steals to set up the shot.
The last time Curry was in the building, he threw up a 62-footer that also went in at the buzzer and killed any momentum the Grizzlies had. The Warriors went on to close them out in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals.
“He has a knack for doing that in this building,” Klay Thompson said.
Andrew Bogut returned to action after suffering a concussion in a win against the Detroit Pistons, and he is expected to come off the bench again against the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday.
That leaves Festus Ezeli as the starting center for now. Bogut offered praise for Ezeli, a younger player who has taken advantage of his opportunities.
“He’s being aggressive,” Bogut said. “Early on in his career, he was bobbling some balls. He was kind of nervous I guess in spot minutes. But the more minutes that he’s got, he’s become more confident. He’s catching some tougher passes now, and he’s getting them up and dunking on people. He’s getting some offensive rebounds. He’s a beast out there. He’s a big, big guy. He takes up a lot of space. He’s very strong and athletic, and he’s done a great job for us. Defensively, he’s really starting to figure out where you’ve got to affect the game even without scoring.”
OAKLAND — Warriors center Andrew Bogut will come off the bench against the Detroit Pistons on Monday after missing six games due to a concussion, according to interim head coach Luke Walton.
Festus Ezeli will start until Bogut can get back into game shape after having completed the NBA’s return-to-participation protocol.
Bogut has not yet practiced fully since suffering the concussion during the season opener. He also missed three preseason games due to a broken nose. He did not need to be tested for a concussion after taking that blow to the head, according to the Warriors.