Warriors hit 50-win plateau for 5th consecutive season

OAKLAND — Near the close of the opening quarter on Tuesday night, Stephen Curry found himself racing up the court in transition. Curry pulled up from well beyond the top of the arc and drilled the 3-pointer — punctuating his own 11-0 run and the Golden State Warriors’ 25-0 barrage. He struck a pose. Did a dance — of sorts — as he shuffled back to midcourt and nearly forgot to get back on defense.

At that early juncture, the Warriors were racing toward an easy win over the lowly Brooklyn Nets.

Then regression set in. The early lead, which ballooned to 16 at the end of the first quarter, turned into a five-point deficit at the break.

Eventually, the Warriors awoke from their sleepwalk and Curry — as he’s done on so many occasions over the past nine seasons — spearheaded the charge in the 114-101 win. Curry dropped 34 points, shooting 12-for-20 from the field and 6-for-12 from 3-point range.

It was a night full of round numbers for Curry and the Warriors. The point guard became the seventh Warrior to hit 5,000 field goals. The Warriors secured a 50-win season for the fifth year in a row.

No need to remind Curry how far the Warriors have come.

“I remember, trust me,” Curry said, interrupting a reporter who asked him about the five and 50.

“Not many guys in that locker room remember what that was like,” Curry continued. “I think I’m the only one that was here before the pre-playoff era.”

His first four seasons, the Warriors won 26, 36, 23 and 47 games, respectively.

“I know how tough it was and how hard it is to win one NBA game, let alone 50 in a season, let alone a championship,” Curry said. “So, I’m definitely appreciative of the time we’re in right now. And [I want] to continue to keep our organization at the top of the NBA and have that consistent success year after year. So, it’s pretty special to be in this situation.”

Amid this unprecedented franchise success, head coach Steve Kerr admitted that even if he doesn’t get the chance to soak it all in, he keeps the big picture.

“I never forget how lucky we are to be in this run that we’re in,” Kerr said before the win. “This is rare in the NBA, so we all think about that.”

The wins have become so commonplace that they’ve become routine for the once downtrodden organization.

“The Warriors went almost two decades without much success — I think one playoff appearance in 16 years or something,” Kerr said.

Kerr’s history is slightly off — the team actually made two postseason trips in 19 years — but the point remains. Before the current run of five consecutive 50-win seasons, the Warriors had only hit that plateau on four occasions.

During the current renaissance, which began during Mark Jackson’s final season in charge, the Warriors’ resume is unimpeachable. The team has won a pair of titles, set the single season record with 73 wins, watched its franchise centerpiece — Curry — grow into a two-time MVP, signed an MVP — Kevin Durant  — and seen Kerr win Coach of the Year while general manager/president of basketball ops Bob Myers won Executive of the Year.

“This is a pretty special sort of confluence of talent and roster configuration,” Kerr said. “We had some key free-agent signings.”

When it comes to free-agent additions, Andre Iguodala is second only to Durant in import. Iguodala, who, after a lousy first half has been back to his old ways during the 6-0 post-All-Star break burst, is one of four Warriors leftover from the 2013-2014 club, the first to hit 50. The other three are all homegrown: Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

“We know this is a really special era that isn’t going to last forever,” Kerr said. “So, we do appreciate it, but we don’t talk about it a whole lot.”

Karl Buscheck

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