By: Connor Hanson – Staff Writer
Last Wednesday night was a night for the record books for the National Basketball Association, as the Golden State Warriors cashed in their 73rd victory, finishing with the best regular season record in NBA history. All the while, Kobe Bryant played out his final game in a prolific career that spanned 20 years.
The Warriors came into the game hunting for their final win of the season and the chance to propel their team into the record books. Having tied the Chicago Bulls’ record of 72 wins a couple nights earlier, the Warriors were just one step closer to history. Not only that, Stephen Curry, the point guard for the Warriors, came into the game with 392 three-pointers on the year. Yes, 392, already 106 more than the record, which Curry set last season.
So not only was Golden State looking to clinch the best record in NBA history, but its star player and probable repeat MVP was hunting for 400 threes in one season, something that has never even been thought of as possible before this year.
With all of that drama up in the air, the NBA also had a scheduling dilemma as Bryant was slated to play his final game that night, a swan song of sorts. With a stage packed with screaming Laker and Kobe Bryant fans, everybody knew the five-time NBA Champion was going to go out with a bang. However, nobody predicted him to have the type of game he had.
Bryant started his night off shooting a dismal 0-5 from the field, giving everybody in their seats a glimpse as to why he was calling it quits. However, with the first quarter winding down, Bryant hit his first shot of the night.
Then he started pouring it in.
He ended up shooting 50 field goal attempts for the game, something that hasn’t been done in over 30 years. He finished the game with 60 points shooting 44 percent, or 22-50, sinking his last five shots, including the go-ahead shot to win the game.
That game was his sixth 60-point game of his career, and he became the oldest player to ever reach that point total. Now if that isn’t a picture-perfect ending, I don’t know what is.
Stephen Curry on the other hand was hungrily searching for the records sitting in front of him. Curry, as has become typical for the sharpshooter, continued to light up the scoreboard, lofting threes up left and right.
It was not a matter of if he was going to hit the eight threes he needed to reach 400, but when. And sure enough, Curry hit his eighth three later in the game and ended up finishing with 10 threes on the night, bringing him to a final mark of 402 on the season.
Not only that, Curry went on to score 46 points in the game, as the Warriors handily beat the Grizzlies 124-104 for the record-setting 73rd victory, finishing the season 73-9.
With Bryant hitting 22 shots on his way to 60 points and Curry dropping 46 points on his way to finishing an NBA-best season, it almost appears to be a changing of the guards, as one great NBA career dwindles, another one is soaring to bigger and greater heights. It’s also ironic. Bryant was drafted in 1996, the same year as the Bulls’ record-setting 72-win season, and Bryant retires in 2016, the same year the Warriors break the Bulls’ historic record.
To say that the end of this regular season was picture-perfect would be an understatement
And the best part about all this is that the NBA playoffs have just begun.