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**BREAKING** Warriors Win #73 – Set NBA Record + Playoff Matchups

The Golden State Warriors have done it, they won number 73 on the season and have reached the top of one of the most hallowed records in the history of sports. Golden State defeated the Memphis Grizzlies in their regular season finale to break a record nobody ever thought would be broken. I definitely never thought anyone would get near this record before this season. I mean, when people wondered about the greatest team ever and who was the greatest player ever, the answer was always 1995-96 Bulls and Michael Jordan respectively. There was no doubt about it in anyone’s minds for the majority of people. Jordan electrified people in a way that made the game exciting for everybody and not just crazy sports fans. Curry has drawn from that and you can definitely see the Jordan-esque effect he is having, especially on playgrounds. I bet you see a lot more kids jacking up three-point baskets from 30 feet than you used to. 20 years ago the Chicago Bulls must have certainly felt that they had created one of the hardest records to beat when they went 72-10. Sorry 72-10 Bulls, there is a new sheriff in town and they just so happen to reside in the Bay Area. They did not just dominate the win column, the Warriors set all sorts of records this season.

The Bulls went on to win the NBA title that season, so Golden State now must shift its focus to the NBA Playoffs as they hope to cement their historic season. As for now, I just want you to think about the fact that the Warriors finished the NBA regular season with fewer than 10 losses. Furthermore, the Philadelphia 76ers finished the season with 10 wins! I mean, talk about a contrast…

In the process, Steph Curry continued to build on his own NBA record by crossing the 400 threshold for 3-point baskets made in a single season. Other than Steph Curry, no other player in NBA history has made more than 300 3-point baskets in a season. The atmosphere at Oracle tonight was nothing other than electric and the crowd was sensing the record all the way from the first quarter. You could feel the crowd pulsing as each three-point basket went in and win 73 was in their grasp. As a fan base, how could you not want the NBA regular season win record? The Warriors, once again, scored 30 plus points in the first quarter and left no doubt as to how badly they wanted this record. All season long, either the Warriors told us they were gunning for the record or that they just wanted the season to end. Now, they can relax and let out a sigh of relief as they have the best record of any NBA team in history. Think about all the great Celtics teams that won 60+ games and the Bulls dynasty of the 1990s and now put Golden State at the very front of that discussion. People look back at the Bulls record with a sense of awe and put them on a pedestal with MJ as the greatest player to ever play the game. In 20 years, will we be thinking the same of these Golden State Warriors? I absolutely think we will. Steph Curry is the most thrilling player to watch since Kobe Bryant was at his peak. Curry garners the same love and astonishment that Jordan did when he was at his prime and it has been awesome to see the crowds lining up to see Steph play. We all believe that every shot he puts up is going to go in and he does things that nobody has ever done.

People will always compare this Golden State Warriors to the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls and we will never get the answer as to who the better team is. However, the better record will always belong to Golden State from now until someone else shocks our conscience in 20 more years to get to 74 wins. I have said for a while that this Warriors team is the second coming of the Chicago Bulls dynasty of the 1990s. Steph Curry is the new Jordan, Klay Thompson is the new Pippen, and Draymond Green is the new Dennis Rodman. The Warriors live in a completely new era and so it would be hard to put them in an era where small ball and the three-point basket were not prevalent. Contrast that to Jordan’s Bulls which lived in an era with hand checking and a more physical brand of basketball. It would all depend on which rules you are playing by. I think instead, the discussion should be that the Warriors are their own “Bulls Dynasty” in this newest era of basketball. Every era has its dynasties and I think Kobe and Shaq’s Lakers were the last of the prior era while the Warriors are the first dynasty of the small ball era. Records are always meant to be broken and I for one love witnessing history.

Speaking of Kobe Bryant, the Black Mamba played the final game of his illustrious 20-year NBA career and he showed us classic Kobe all the way to the very end. Bryant scored 60 points against the Utah Jazz in front of a sold out and electric crowd at Staples Center. The Lakers came back to beat the Utah Jazz and Kobe was behind the rally all the way. The crowd and LA fan base had been waiting all season to witness their hero go out as a legend. This was a pleasant distraction for Laker fans who had endured a terrible season. LA finishes with a record of 17-65 for the season. However, this season was never about the regular season record for the Lakers. Kobe wanted to soak it all in and try to teach the young players while he said his farewell to the love of his life. Bryant came back from injuries that most people would give up on and reminded us more than a few times this season that he was an absolutely frightening player on the court and a true legend. Check out my article on what is next for the Lakers (http://teejsportstalk.com/2016/04/11/lakers-future-happens-next/ ). For now, enjoy this last game from the Black Mamba…

The NBA playoff picture is now set with the Rockets blowing out the Kings to earn the 8th seed in the Western Conference. I think the playoff picture has the potential to surprise a few of us along the way but I predict that inevitably we will see Golden State and Cleveland in an NBA Finals rematch. A Western Conference Finals rematch starts us off with Houston taking on the Warriors. If there is any consolation to the Rockets fan base and organization, it might be that they do get a second chance against a Warriors team they faced in the Western Conference Finals but ultimately fell to in five games. The Rockets will be able to throw out Patrick Beverly and Donatas Motiejunas this time but it might be one year too late for Houston. I think it will be one of the more entertaining first round matchups and it will definitely be high scoring, however, I think Golden State puts Houston out of the playoffs it never seemed to really want to be in.

San Antonio will take on a depleted Grizzlies team that has been sinking fast as their injuries added up. The lack of Gasol will hurt Memphis as I think the Spurs sweep the Grizzlies. The Clippers will take on the surprising Portland Trailblazers in the first round and this could get interesting fast. Los Angeles has been playing very well towards the end of the season and with Blake Griffin back, the Clippers may feel that they are hitting on all cylinders as the playoffs begin. On the other hand, Portland has been led to the 5th seed by a scoring duo of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Portland lost a significant portion of their starting lineup and still made the playoffs as a 5 seed in one of the most impressive stories of the year. The Clippers should hold the advantage and ultimately come out in 6 or 7 games, however, do not underestimate Portland. I would only recommend you watch Portland against the Warriors right after the NBA All-Star game as a reference to how good they can be.

The Thunder will take on the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs. Oklahoma City has been hovering under the radar this season and most of that is because of how historic Golden State has been. I would take a close look at how tough OKC played Golden State and how just as historic of a season that Russell Westbrook has had with his triple-doubles. Dallas toughed it out and used a banded group of players to make the playoffs yet again with an aging Dirk Nowitzki. Dirk finally won a title in 2010 but has had to lead an ever-changing roster since then. The Mavericks can get hot and win a couple of games but I see OKC dispatching Dallas in 5 or 6 games.

The East might provide some early upsets outside of Cleveland and Detroit. Detroit did win 2 out of 3 games against the Cavaliers so I see you Pistons fans, however, I think the playoff Cavs will be a different animal. Cleveland has a lot of pressure on it and specifically LeBron James so either he will lead them to the Finals or the referees will be the 6th man to a certain extent. I think Toronto finally has a shot to get to a conference finals this year as they host the 7th seeded Pacers in a seven-game series to start things off. The Raptors have been trying to make a statement all year round and have done a decent job at doing so by earning the second seed in the East. However, they need to make playoff noise to get my attention and I think they survive a Pacer upset by winning in 7 games. Paul George will remind us all that he is a superstar no matter what happens in this series.

How about the Miami Heat? Miami has come out of nowhere with all of their injuries and new additions to earn the 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Heat still have D-Wade to lead the way and additions like Dragic and Joe Johnson provide a dangerous element to this team. Earning a top 3 seed allows the Heat to avoid the Cavs until the Conference Finals and who does not want to see a Cavs-Heat Conference Finals? How bad would it be for the Heat to de-rail LeBron’s quest to save Cleveland? I think Miami should beat the surprising Charlotte Hornets in 6 games without a whole lot of difficulty. Charlotte is definitely improved and their defensive posture coached by Steve Clifford is one of the tops in the NBA. The problem with the Hornets is they have a lot of solid players but nothing dangerous that can make things happen in the gritty trenches of the NBA Playoffs. Jeremy Lin, Kemba Walker, and Nicolas Batum are solid but can any of them overcome Dwayne Wade or Dragic? I have my doubts.

Atlanta did not quite sneak up on us like they did last year but they did end up with a top 4 seed to their credit. They face off with a Celtics team that many people believe are ahead of their time. Boston has a lot of young talent and many more first round picks to come this summer so the future is bright for them. The real question is, how far can this young core go right now? Isaiah Thomas is a great scorer and Avery Bradley is a great defender but I cannot see this team moving to the Conference Finals or NBA Finals without a more established star being added to this roster. The Celtics made it tough on Cleveland last year and I think they will make it tough on playoff opponents this year but I cannot see them getting past Cleveland in the second round. That being said, I think the Celtics have better chemistry and talent so I think they get by Atlanta in 6 games.

Below are the Playoff matchups and schedule:

I hope you guys enjoyed this article and I hope you are excited for the NBA Playoffs! Please share/tweet/comment/like this with your friends and tune in as the playoffs begin.

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