The Golden State Warriors rewrote NBA history Tuesday night at Oracle Arena.
Stephen Curry had 24 points and nine assists, Draymond Green added 18 points, seven rebounds and two blocks and Golden State became the first team in the NBA’s 69-year history to start a season 16-0 with a 111-77 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. The Warriors now have the 1948-49 Washington Capitols and the 1993-94 Houston Rockets in their rearview mirror.
“We went by and congratulated each player,” Warriors interim head coach Luke Walton said. “They are in the history books. But we also reminded them that it’s November and we got a lot more work to do. This turned into a mini goal a couple of games ago. We accomplished it and now we have to make sure we don’t drop off and give a game away just because we broke this record. We got to continue to work and continue to get better.”
Golden State shot 48.9 percent from the field and 34.3 percent from 3-point range. The Warriors tallied 32 assists while committing a season-low tying eight turnovers. Defensively, the defending NBA champions held the Lakers to 37.8 percent shooting from the field and 15.0 percent from 3-point range.
“During the streak, we had some slippage,” Walton said. “We had some games we didn’t play like ourselves. To actually break the record on a night where we were sharing the ball and taking care of the ball, not turning the ball over. Defensively in the first quarter where we’ve been struggling, we let up 11 points on 23 percent shooting. To do it as well as we did tonight makes it even that much more special.”
Golden State opened as 17-point favorites to make history and made Vegas look smart by building a 30-11 lead after one quarter. The Warriors made six 3-pointers while holding Los Angeles to just five made field goals. The Lakers missed 16 of 21 shots.
Los Angeles managed to outscore Golden State 27-24 in the second quarter to trail by 16 at halftime. Lou Williams got hot and scored 10 points on 4-of-4 shooting. The Lakers were able to convert three turnovers into seven points.
After allowing the Lakers to close within 14 early in the second half, Golden State left no doubt by ending the third quarter on a 31-10 run to take a 34-point lead. The advantage extended to 41 in the fourth quarter.
“They are enjoying playing with each other,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “They have a lot of fun playing with each other. Very unselfish basketball team. That’s why they lead the league in assists per game. They don’t care who scores. They just care about winning.”
A perfect illustration occurred in the third quarter. Andre Iguodala got his hand on a pass by Kobe Bryant. The ball ricocheted to Andrew Bogut, who passed ahead to Curry. Curry was wide open and could have walked in for a layup. Instead, the NBA scoring leader passed the ball back to a trailing Iguodala, who was rewarded with a two-handed slam.
“That’s an unique atmosphere to be involved in and that’s what they have here,” Scott said.
While it was an unforgettable night for the Warriors and Dub Nation, it was a forgettable night for Kobe Bryant. The five-time NBA champion missed 13 of 14 shots and finished with just four points.
“It was tough,” Bryant said. “The shots that I take, the pull-up shots and jumpers, the contested jumpers, those are tough shots to hit at 27, it’s very tough to hit them at 37.”
Per Baxter Holmes of ESPN, Bryant tied the worst shooting performance in his career when he attempted at least five shots. The “Black Mamba” also shot 1-of-14 on Nov. 14, 2014 against the San Antonio Spurs.
“It’s tough to watch him struggle like he did tonight,” Scott said. “But I also have a lot of faith in him as well. I know how he is as far as his work ethic goes. I know how much pressure he puts on himself. So I know he’ll come out of it.”
Bryant finished with six rebounds, two assists and two steals. Williams, Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr. led the Lakers in scoring with 10 points.
The Warriors will try for 17-0 when they visit the Phoenix Suns on the day after Thanksgiving. The Suns are currently tied for second place in the Pacific Division with the Los Angeles Clippers. Both are 7-7 and eight games behind Golden State. The game is scheduled to tip-off at 6:30 p.m. PST.
Jason Richardson was honored during the break between the first and second quarters. The Warriors drafted Richardson with the fifth pick in the 2001 NBA Draft. Richardson played six seasons in Oakland and averaged 18.3 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.3 steals. He was part of the “We Believe” Warriors and won back-to-back Slam Dunk contests.
Richardson played a total of 14 seasons before retiring in September. Both Richardson and Draymond Green were both in Saginaw, Michigan and attended Michigan State. Per Carl Steward of the San Jose Mercury News, Richardson does not know what he did to receive such an honor.
On the road to 73 wins:
2015-16 Golden State Warriors 16-0
1995-96 Chicago Bulls 14-2
On the road to 33 straight wins:
1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers 33
2015-16 Golden State Warriors ??