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Golden State Warriors set NBA record with 73 wins, Stephen Curry scores 46

By
Dave Del Grande, The Sports Xchange
A Golden State Warriors fan holds up the number 73 predicting the outcome of the game before playing the Memphis Grizzles at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California on April 13, 2016. The Warriors set a new season win record to end with a record 73-9. Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI
A Golden State Warriors fan holds up the number 73 predicting the outcome of the game before playing the Memphis Grizzles at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California on April 13, 2016. The Warriors set a new season win record to end with a record 73-9. Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Golden State Warriors did something Wednesday night they were unable to do even in winning the championship last season.

They rewrote history, and this time got to celebrate it in front of their home fans.

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The Warriors set an NBA record with their 73rd regular-season win, riding Stephen Curry's 46 points to a 125-104 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies in a glitter-filled Oracle Arena.

Tuning up for a first-round matchup with the eighth-seeded Houston Rockets in the Western Conference playoffs, the Warriors (73-9) surpassed the 72-win total of the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, a mark Golden State equaled Sunday in San Antonio.

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"It's a great way to finish off what was an amazing regular season," said Warriors coach Steve Kerr, a guard on that Bulls team 20 years ago. "I'd never in a million years have guessed that that record would ever be broken. I thought it was like (Joe) DiMaggio's hit streak. Really. And I was wrong."

Kerr, who missed the first half of the season following two back procedures, then went into the prediction business again.

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"I will say the same thing now that I said 20 years ago. I don't think this one will ever be broken. Somebody's got to go 74-8. I don't see it, and I hope our fans aren't expecting that next year."

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The Warriors will host Houston in Game 1 of their best-of-seven on Saturday afternoon. Golden State, which dispatched the Rockets in five games in the Western Conference finals last year en route to its first NBA title since 1975, swept the three-game series from the Rockets this season.

"It's a relief," Kerr said of the grind required to get the record. "Now, obviously, we want to finish off the season in the right way. It's going to be a lot of work."

The Grizzlies (42-40) had a chance to move up a spot in the Western playoff ladder with a win, but they finished as the seventh seed and will take on the Spurs in the first round. That best-of-seven will open Sunday night in San Antonio.

Memphis, which reached the conference semifinals last season before losing to Golden State in six games, was swept 4-0 by the Spurs in the regular season.

"All you've got to do is get one," Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger said of the first two road games in the San Antonio series. "If we can get one and you find a crack, all of a sudden jumpers don't come so free and easy, (and) maybe you start making people think about it a little bit."

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Curry, who long ago broke his own NBA record for 3-pointers in a season, set the bar even higher when he crushed the Grizzlies with 10 more to push his season total to 402.

"Congrats to Steph, and more importantly, congrats to the other 14 guys in the locker room," Curry's backcourt mate, Klay Thompson, said. "We fought hard and didn't take a night off all year. It's hard to do for 82 games."

Six of Curry's 10 3-pointers came in the first quarter, during which he exploded for 20 points and nearly outscored the Grizzlies singlehandedly, lifting Golden State to a 37-23 lead.

The Grizzlies, who were playing on the second night of a back-to-back, were never closer than 11 after that.

Curry's eighth 3-pointer, which came 42 seconds into the third quarter, was his 400th of the season. No other NBA player has ever reached 300.

Curry's 41st point, which came late in the third period, assured he would finish with a scoring average above 30.0, making him the only Warrior in history other than Hall of Famers Wilt Chamberlain and Rick Barry to hit that mark.

Having accomplished all his goals for the night, Curry was given the fourth quarter off.

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"In Steph's case, if he's greedy, it helps us," Kerr said. "We want him looking for a shot, attacking all the time, being aggressive. And he had a spectacular night.

"He just had one of the most amazing seasons that anybody has ever had in the history of the league."

Curry also found time for six assists, four rebounds and two steals as the Warriors ran their home record to 39-2, one win shy of the league record that the Spurs tied this season.

The 46-point effort was Curry's 13th of 40 or more this season.

Thompson contributed 16 points, including four 3-pointers, for the Warriors, who shot 20-for-47 (42.6 percent) from beyond the arc and outscored the Grizzlies 60-24 on threes.

Harrison Barnes hit six of 10 from the field en route to 15 points to go with six rebounds, and Draymond Green connected on four of eight on an 11-point night, helping Golden State shoot 52.9 percent for the game.

Green had seven assists and also led the Warriors with nine rebounds before unofficially recording a steal at the end of the game, securing the game ball.

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"I'm a part of the best team ever," said Green, who added that the history-making ball would be cut up and divided among Warriors players and coaches. "Not many guys can say that. That's amazing."

Zach Randolph had a team-high 24 points for the Grizzlies, who will enter the playoffs on a four-game losing streak.

Lance Stephenson (22), JaMychal Green (12) and Jarell Martin (11) all scored in double figures off the Memphis bench.

"I'm really impressed by our team," Joerger said. "Nobody wants to get embarrassed, and I think we fought. We didn't quit. We didn't go away."

Stephenson went 3-for-3 on 3-pointers, but his teammates were just 5-for-21, accounting for the team's 33.3 percentage (8-for-24).

The Grizzlies hit 42.9 percent of their shots overall.

NOTES: Warriors coach Steve Kerr wore "Scottie Pippen socks" during the game as a tribute to the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, for whom he played all 82 games in the 72-win season. ... The Warriors have won 11 of the 12 meetings with Houston since the start of the 2014-15 season, including a 4-1 triumph in the Western Conference finals last May. ... With PG Mike Conley (foot), SG Tony Allen (hamstring), SG Jordan Adams (knee), SF Brandan Wright (knee) and C Marc Gasol (foot) out of action, the Grizzlies finished the regular season with a total of 301 games lost to injury, second most in the league behind the New Orleans Pelicans. ... Conley finished as the NBA leader in assist/turnover ratio at 4.07-to-1.

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