Steph Curry, left, shares a laugh from the bench with teammate Ian Clark during the Warriors visit to Madison Square Garden to play the New York Knicks in January. (Kathy Willens/AP)

Steph Curry, left, shares a laugh from the bench with teammate Ian Clark during the Warriors visit to Madison Square Garden to play the New York Knicks in January. (Kathy Willens/AP)

Joyless Jordanaires are no match for Warriors’ fun bunch

Now that the Warriors have done the utterly unthinkable, the darn near impossible — join Michael Jordan and the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls as the only NBA teams to win as many as 72 games in the regular season — those comparisons finally have reason.

But take it from someone who survived Michael Jordan and his traveling circus back in the day: There’s one area that those Bulls are no match for these Warriors, none at all.

It’s called fun.

That’s right — the pure, once-in-a-lifetime joy that precious few athletes experience in their careers.

See, those Bulls were cold-blooded killers. Jordan would have it no other way. They’d look you in the eyes, whack you in the forehead, move on to the next city then do the deed again. Tony Soprano and Paulie Walnuts couldn’t have done it better.

The Jordanaires were a cliquish group — Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Ron Harper in one corner, the so-called supporting cast in the other and Dennis Rodman on Mars, naturally. On the court, they were ruthless in the grind-it-out, half-court game. That even went for the practices, where Jordan once blackened Kerr’s eye so badly that Kerr publicly blamed it on a home accident lest he incur even an greater wrath of god in the future.

These Warriors are California cool. They like to dominate opponents, all right, but they don’t bludgeon them. They kill them softly from a distance, more like death from a thousand paper cuts. Some guys are closer than others, and, yeah, Draymond Green can fray some nerves at times, but they seem to truly enjoy being around each other. The smiles start with Curry, the most likable, down-to-Earth superstar the league has seen in years.

So not only have Curry and the Warriors won as many regular-season games as any team in league history, but they’ve done it with a brand of ball and infectious enthusiasm that the basketball world hasn’t seen before. That’s their legacy, and it’s what separates them from the rest.

SUCH A DEAL: On cue, TNT yukster Charles Barley says the Warriors won’t win another league championship. Or else he’ll issue a pubic apology on his knees.

Well, Balls will match Chuckles and raise him one. If the Warriors don’t win it all, it will push a peanut with its nose down Lombard Street. But if the Champs repeat this spring, Barkley will have to hang up his microphone permanently.
Whad’ya say, Chuckles? Deal?

THIS FISH AIN’T BITIN’: Balls is tempted to predict the Sharks will do something special in the postseason for a change. That starts with an upset of the Kings in round one, which faces off in Los Angeles tonight. The Kings were dog breath down the stretch. They’re also vulnerable against up-tempo teams, while the Sharks look to be deeper than a year ago.

But who in his drug-free mind would ever pick the San Jose Hockey Country Club to grow a pair at this time of year?

The Sharks packed so much mental baggage, it took three planes to take them south. Lest we forget, this is pretty much the same cast of underachievers who gagged on a 3-0 lead against the Kings only two years ago.

Here’s the biggest reason why the Sharks will disappoint again: They face a colossal mismatch in goal, where untested Martin Jones (or James Reimer) faces Jonathan Quick, a two-time Stanley Cup champion and still among the best in the biz.

Sharks fans won’t want to read this, but another one-and-done is the best that can happen to their team. Maybe it would wake Hasso Plattner up from his nap overseas, convince the owner to shake up the organ-i-zation finally. Then again, probably not.

LET’S GET IT STARTED HOT: There’s no better postseason in all of pro sports than the NHL postseason. Not the NFL, not the NBA, definitely not Major League Baseball.

No five-minute overtimes. No silly shootouts. Far fewer cheapshots and dumb penalties. No dominant home-ice advantage. White-knucklers galore. As many as a half-dozen legit contenders to win it all. And the best playoff beards around.

Make it the Kings over the Washington Capitals in six games.

JUST SAYIN’: Fifteen major league teams play in domes or warm-weather cities, so who’s the wise guy who continues to schedule all these games in the East and Midwest in the first month of the season?

Now that this Trevor Brown guy is on a pace for 54 home runs, is it too late for the Giants to redo Brandon Belt’s contract, trade him for a quality arm then move Buster Posey to first base?

So many people were part of the pregame introductions at AT&T Park on Opening Day, Balls fully expected the wives, mistresses and girlfriends to be next.

The Athletics are off to a 1-6 start at The Oakland Mausoleum, and operations genius Billy Beane has to be concerned that his team peaked too early.

According to sometimes reliable sources, 49ers general manager Trent Baalke plans to draft the safety with the weirdest name and the best punter available in the early rounds.

Assistant Ron Adams is the unsung star of the Warriors’ season, and the fact that the Chicago Bulls fired him and Tom Thibodeau explains their place among the most dunderheaded management teams in the league.

Happy trails to Kobe Bryant, the closest thing to Jordan that we’re likely to see in our lifetimes …

And good riddance to David Stern, who destroyed the Los Angeles Lakers franchise and sabotaged the league when he overturned the Chris Paul trade, the worst business decision by an NBA commissioner ev-er.

Got an opinion? A gripe? A compliment? A compliment?! Send them to, and who knows, you may get your name in the paper before long.Ballschicago bullsGolden State WarriorsMichael JordanPaul LadewskiSan FranciscoStephen Curry

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