Warriors Top Bulls’ NBA Season Record, Golden State Heavy Vegas Favorite Heading Into Playoffs
Posted on: April 14, 2016, 02:12h.
Last updated on: April 14, 2016, 02:14h.
The Golden State Warriors have accomplished what was thought to be unthinkable over the last 20 years. On Wednesday night, the Warriors beat the Memphis Grizzlies for their 73rd win of the regular season, a mark that eclipsed Michael Jordan and the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls’ 72-win benchmark.
The Warriors end their regular season at 73-9, six games clear of any other team this year. Along with the fact that they’re defending NBA champions, it should come as little surprise that Golden State is the heavy Las Vegas favorite heading into the playoffs.
The consensus among leading books in Nevada has the Warriors at 1/2 odds of winning the NBA Finals. The Cleveland Cavaliers (57-25) and San Antonio Spurs (67-15) are next at 4/1.
Golden State head coach Steve Kerr, who was a member of the Bulls in ’95-96, said of his team’s new mark, “Never in a million years would have guessed that that record would ever be broken. I was wrong.”
As a little icing on the cake, last year’s MVP Stephen Curry finished the season with 402 three-pointers. No player in the history of the NBA had previously topped 300.
Playoff Picture Set
Aside from the odds mentioned for the three teams above, the experts in Vegas think it’s a long shot for any other team to have much of a chance of winning the NBA title. In fact, after the 4/1 line for the Cavs and Spurs, Oklahoma is fourth at 20/1, Los Angeles Clippers fifth at 40/1, and Toronto Raptors fifth at 50/1.
Of course, the lines are live and could fluctuate.
But it seems the books don’t have much faith in any team from the Eastern Conference overcoming LeBron James and Cleveland. Out west, it’s a two-horse race between the Warriors and Spurs, an expected Western Conference showdown that could be more exciting than the actual Finals.
Though it would seem rather unlikely that it’s not the Cavs vs. the Warriors in the NBA Finals, Curry isn’t taking anything for granted.
On Wednesday, there was no champagne for the Golden State players. “We just know we have a good thing here, and we want to take advantage of it and keep pushing the envelope,” Curry stated.
Kobe Drops the Mic
Kobe Bryant ended his storied 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night, and while his team finished with the worst record in the West, he went out on top.
Playing in front of a sold-out Staples Center one last time, Bryant poured in an astonishing 60 points and outscored the Utah Jazz by himself in the fourth quarter.
“I can’t believe how fast 20 years went by,” Kobe said addressing the crowd after the game. “To be standing at center court with you guys . . . we’ve been through our ups, been through our downs. I think the most important part is we all stayed together throughout.”
Bryant won five NBA titles with the Lakers and finishes his career averaging 25 points per game. On January 22, 2006, Bryant scored 81 points, the second most ever by a player in a single game.