Oakland (United States) (AFP) – The Golden State Warriors blazed to a record 73rd victory of the NBA season on Wednesday, thrashing the Memphis Grizzlies 125-104 to eclipse the 72-win campaign of the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls.
NBA Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry scored 46 points as the reigning champions broke the mark that seemed unassailable when it was set two decades earlier by that Michael Jordan-led Bulls team.
With their 73-9 record in hand and the confetti falling at a raucous Oracle Arena, the Warriors were already turning their attention to the playoffs and their larger quest for a title repeat.
“Now, let’s go get this championship,” Draymond Green, who had urged his team-mates toward the record — exhorted the crowd.
The chase for the record, launched by the Warriors’ 24-0 start to the season, came down to the final game of the campaign and fittingly saw Curry reach yet another once unthinkable milestone as he surpassed 400 three-pointers for the season.
Curry, who had already become the first player to make 300 three-pointers in a single season back on March 8, drained 10 from beyond the arc to take his total to the season to 402 — shattering his own previous single-season record of 286 from last season.
Six of Curry’s three-pointers came in the first quarter, when he exploded for 20 points and almost out-scored Memphis single-handedly as Golden State took a 37-23 lead.
The Grizzlies never got the deficit below 11 points from there and Curry, who put up a career-high 19 three-point attempts, had the luxury of resting the entire fourth quarter.
Curry’s 41st point of the night, late in the third period, ensured he would finish the season with a scoring average above 30.0 points per game, making him the only Warrior in history other than Hall of Famers Wilt Chamberlain and Rick Barry to hit that mark.
Curry also handed out six assists and four rebounds as the Warriors improved to 39-2 at home.
“At the end of the day, the support night-in and night-out you bring to this arena is incredible,” Green told the crowd. “Winning 39 games at home is incredible.”
Klay Thompson added 16 points, including four three-pointers, for the Warriors. Harrison Barnes added 15 and Draymond Green connected on four of eight shots to contribute 11.
The Warriors, who had barely edged the Grizzlies 100-99 in Memphis four days earlier to keep the quest for 73 wins alive, roll into the Western Conference playoffs as the top seed and will face the eighth-seeded Houston Rockets in the first round in a rematch of last season’s conference finals.
The Grizzlies could have moved up a notch in the seedings with a win, but will go in at number seven and face the second-seeded San Antonio Spurs in the first round.