When you correctly answer 89 percent of the questions on a test, you've done something quite impressive. When you win 89 perfect of the games on your NBA schedule, you've done something legendary.
When you correctly answer 89 percent of the questions on a test, you’ve done something quite impressive. When you win 89 perfect of the games on your NBA schedule, you’ve done something legendary.
Whether or not this Golden State Warriors team will go down as all-time great is still up in the air. There is still a whole postseason that looms, and even if they do bring home another title, their legacy will still be open for debate.
However, what they just accomplished will not be up for any debate. They just completed the greatest regular season in league history.
Personally, I never thought I’d see the day when the 1995-96 Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls would have their 72-10 record go down in flames. I mean, who else could pull that off besides Jordan?
There is a reason no one came close to touching the record for 20 years. It’s hard to win 89 percent of the time when you’re playing 82 games in the span of a few months.
There is more parody in the league than there has ever been. There is certainly more than there was back in 1995.
To go 73-9 like the Warriors just did, you have to have some amazing luck. You have to go the entire season without getting bit by the injury bug.
You have to be great on the road. It’s one thing to be able to win at home when you have the crowd behind you, and you get to sleep in your own bed the night before and you aren’t shaking off the effects of jet lag.
It’s quite a different thing to have to fight off your opponent and their hostile crowd, and the lack of sleep and the dead legs you’re left with after a long road trip. The Warriors pulled it off quite masterfully this season—finishing a superb 34-7 away from home.
And of course, as great as these players are, at the end of the day, they’re still very human. You have to expect that in an 82-game season, they’ll have some nights where they just won’t have it. Maybe they’re tired physically. Maybe they’re tired mentally. Maybe they just don’t have the intensity they need that night. It’s a recipe for a sure loss—especially on the road.
The Warriors faced all of these challenges. They faced all of these variables, and still, they got the job done.
They began the season an amazing 24-0, and they did what you have to do in trying to attain such a gaudy feat: they avoided back-to-back losses. They didn’t drop two straight games all season.
To do something this special, you have to have a special leader. The Bulls had Jordan. The Warriors have Stephen Curry. With all due respect to LeBron James, at this moment, Curry is the best player on the planet.
He makes everyone around him better. With him, they’re 73-9. If you take him off of that team, they’re struggling to make the playoffs.
We all thought he was great in last year’s MVP season, but the scary thing is, he was even better in 2015-16. He finished the regular season averaging 30 points, seven assists and five rebounds per game.
Obviously, with the Warriors breaking the Bulls’ record, the inevitable debate has surfaced. Which team is better?
Scottie Pippen has already given his opinion. Being on that Bulls team, he’s just a tad biased. He said recently that his ’95 Chicago team would have swept the Warriors, and he would have held Curry to less than 20 points.
Another Hall of Famer from that era, Charles Barkley, said that the Bulls would “kill” the Warriors.
Maybe I’m biased, too. I grew up watching those amazing Bulls teams. I loved them. I proudly watched all six championship runs. I agree that the Bulls of ’95 were better.
They were better defensively, better down low and they were tougher physically. The length of Pippen would have given Curry trouble. Dennis Rodman would have dominated the boards, and of course, Jordan is the best player ever.
With that said, I don’t think Pippen and Barkley are giving the Warriors enough credit. Yes, I think the ’95 Bulls would beat them, but I don’t think they would “kill” them by any means. I surely don’t think they would sweep them in a seven-game series.
Pippen may give Curry some trouble, but he’s going to get his; he’s going to make plays. He’s too great to be completely contained. And when you have a team that shoots as well as the Warriors do, they always have a chance.
If a Suns team that was Barkley or bust could take the Jordan and Pippen-led Bulls to six games in ’93, and the Sonics could take that 72-win Bulls squad to six, I don’t see why the Warriors couldn’t take away two wins as well.