The Chasing of The ’96 Bulls
April 2, 2016 by Casey Ward
Michael Jordan. Scottie Pippen. Dennis Rodman. Toni Kukoc. Steve Kerr. Ron Harper.
With a core roster like that, it’s easy to see why the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls steamrolled their way to an NBA-best 72 wins that season, eventually winning the NBA title. Without question, the win record was a remarkable feat – one that many said at the time would be next to impossible to top.
Flash forward to the present day, as the basketball world now has its eyes on a team that plays its home games some 2,000-plus miles away from the Windy City as the team that might just bust the 72-win plateau set 20 years ago.
Like the ’96 Bulls, the Golden State Warriors have the league MVP – and arguably the best shooter in NBA history at age 28 – in Steph Curry. They’ve got Curry’s 3-point shooting partner in crime in Klay Thompson. They’ve got a do-everything player in Draymond Green. They’ve got other solid players in Andrew Bogut, Andre Igoudala and Harrison Barnes. And with a 68-7 record as of March 31, the Warriors have three more total wins than the ’96 Bulls did (65-7) through the same part of the season. Yes, the Warriors have played three more games than the ’96 Bulls to this point, but the bottom line is that 5 wins in their final 7 games will beat Chicago’s regular season win record. What’s more is that 5 of Golden State’s remaining games will be played in the friendly confines of Oracle Arena, where it has a dominating 52-game win streak.
Can Golden State do it? Let’s examine its remaining schedule:
- April 1 vs. Celtics
- April 3 vs. Trail Blazers
- April 5 vs. Timberwolves
- April 7 vs. Spurs
- April 9 at Grizzlies
- April 10 at Spurs
- April 13 vs. Grizzlies
3 Reasons Why the Warriors Will (and Won’t) Break the Record
Here’s a look at why the Warriors will break the NBA regular season win record:
- Steph Curry: The league MVP is shooting over 50 percent from the floor and over 45 percent from three (on about 750 attempts). Some of the makes have been on absolutely insane attempts, proving he’s a weapon from any part of the floor.
- Home dominance: Assuming the Warriors can continue to be perfect at home, they could lose both of their remaining road games and still break the record.
- Steve Kerr: People often forget that Warriors coach Steve Kerr was a member of that 1995-96 Bulls squad as a player. He knows what it takes to get the job done.
Why the Warriors Won’t Break the Record:
- The Spurs: San Antonio topped Golden State less than two weeks ago and the two teams play again twice before season’s end. If the Spurs win both, there’s no margin for error for Golden State.
- The pressure: Golden State hasn’t been shy about embracing the possibility of setting the record, but will the pressure get to it?
- Injury: We saw Steph Curry miss some time with a bum ankle a few weeks ago. Lingering injuries or new injuries could force Steve Kerr’s hand in resting guys to get them healthy for the playoffs.