Warriors get 72nd win
The 2015 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors earned their 72nd win of the 2015-16 season with Sunday’s 92-86 road victory over the San Antonio Spurs, matching the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls’ NBA record for most wins in a single season.
With the win, the Warriors finished the season with a 34-7 (.829) record on the road, establishing an NBA record for most road wins in a single season. At 72-9 (.889) on the season, Golden State has become the first team in NBA history to reach 63 games above the .500 mark. The Warriors snapped a 33-game regular-season road losing streak against the Spurs, earning their first regular-season win at San Antonio since Feb. 14, 1997. Golden State improved to 16-1 (.941) this season against teams with a winning percentage of .600 or better.
The Warriors (72-9) guaranteed that they will become the first team in league history to go a full season without losing to the same team twice. They also guaranteed that they will become the first team to go through a season without losing two games in a row.
The stage is now set for Wednesday, when the Warriors seek an NBA-record 73rd victory in their regular-season finale against the Grizzlies at Oracle Arena. ESPN will televise the game at 10:30 p.m. ET.
The NBA TV telecast featuring the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs generated an average of 2.6 million total viewers to become the network’s most-viewed telecast of all time (regular season and playoffs).
NBA TV’s live game coverage continues tonight, Monday, April 11, with a doubleheader featuring a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference Finals – the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James visiting the Atlanta Hawks and Jeff Teague at 7 p.m. – followed by the Sacramento Kings and DeMarcus Cousins visiting the Phoenix Suns and sharp-shooting rookie Devin Booker at 10 p.m.
Western Conference Playoff spots at stake
The Eastern Conference’s eight playoff teams are now known. In the Western Conference, two postseason spots remain up for grabs.
The Mavericks can clinch one of those spots if they defeat the Jazz tonight in Utah (9 p.m. ET, NBA LEAGUE PASS) or if the Rockets lose to the Timberwolves in Minnesota (8 p.m., NBA LP).
Utah can clinch a postseason spot if it beats the Mavericks and Houston loses to Minnesota.
If the Jazz wins and the Rockets lose, Houston would be eliminated from playoff contention.
Also tonight, the Cavaliers can clinch the best record in the East with a victory over the Hawks in Cleveland (7 p.m., NBA TV).
Rusty Simmons, San Francisco Chronicle: “Tucked behind three white towels and the sweats that he would wear on the team’s flight home, the game ball sat safely in the back of Stephen Curry’s cubby. The ball was adorned with a piece of masking tape and black Sharpie writing: 04/10/16 at SAS, with ‘72nd win’ underlined.”
Josh Richardson, Heat guard: “I was a kinesiology major at Tennessee. That’s the scientific study of human movement. I wanted to be a surgeon. I was working on cadavers, doing labs studying hearts and brains. I loved that stuff. … But this is a lot better.”
Baxter Holmes, ESPN.com: “The routine begins at every arena about four hours before tipoff, as it has for years. ... [L]argely, Bryant has the building and the court all to himself. ... And it's at this point that Bryant, who has just two games left in his historic 20-season NBA career, starts shooting, beginning an intense, methodical and efficient session that carries a measure of mystique around the NBA.”
Paul Millsap & Karl-Anthony Towns named NBA Players of the Week
The Atlanta Hawks’ Paul Millsap and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns today were named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, April 4 through Sunday, April 10.
Millsap helped the Hawks to a 3-0 week, which included wins over the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics. He averaged 19.0 points, led the league in both rebounds (15.7 rpg) and blocks (4.33 bpg), and posted point-rebound double-doubles in all three contests.
On April 9, Millsap’s 31-point, 16-rebound, five-block performance lifted Atlanta to a 118-107 win over Boston and moved the Hawks one game ahead of the Celtics for the third seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Towns led the Timberwolves to a 3-0 week, which included wins over the Golden State Warriors and Portland Trail Blazers. He averaged 21.3 points (seventh in the Western Conference), 10.3 rebounds (tied-sixth) and 1.67 blocks (tied-sixth).
On April 9, Towns made the game-winning shot with 1.8 seconds remaining during the Timberwolves’ 106-105 win over the Trail Blazers.
The first overall selection in the 2015 NBA Draft, Towns ranks eighth in the NBA in rebounding (10.5 rpg), eighth in field goal percentage (54.1%), ninth in blocked shots (1.69 bpg), 27th in scoring (18.3 ppg) and third in double-doubles (50). Already the franchise rookie record holder in rebounds (838) and blocks (135), Towns (1463 points) enters tonight’s game against Houston needing just 10 points to surpass Christian Laettner (1472) for the franchise rookie scoring record.
Other nominees for the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Atlanta’s Jeff Teague, Detroit’s Reggie Jackson, Golden State’s Stephen Curry, and the Los Angeles Clippers’ Jamal Crawford.
Portsmouth Invitational back in action
Sixty-four top college seniors will play before NBA general managers and scouts this week at the 64th annual Portsmouth Invitational Tournament in Portsmouth, Va.
The PIT, a four-day, 12-game event that begins Wednesday, has long been a breeding ground for NBA players. Recent Portsmouth standouts include Atlanta’s Kent Bazemore, Chicago's Jimmy Butler, Toronto’s DeMarre Carroll, Philadelphia’s Robert Covington, New York’s Langston Galloway, Memphis’ JaMychal Green, Charlotte’s Jeremy Lin and Dallas’ Wesley Matthews.
Ed Snider passes away
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver released the following statement regarding the passing of former Philadelphia 76ers owner Ed Snider:
“The NBA family is deeply saddened today by the loss of former Philadelphia 76ers owner Ed Snider after a long battle with cancer. Ed was a giant in our league for 40 years and a pioneer on the Philadelphia sports landscape. He was enormously respected as both a leader and a visionary, and he was as good a person as he was a businessman. Ed’s impact on the Sixers and on his beloved city of Philadelphia will continue to be felt for years to come, and on behalf of all of us at the NBA, we send our most sincere condolences to his family.”
What to Watch
Monday, April 11: The Celtics (47-33) are tied with the Heat (47-33) for fourth place in the East, one game ahead of the Hornets (46-34). Boston plays host to Charlotte tonight (7:30 p.m., NBA LEAGUE PASS) and Miami on Wednesday (8 p.m., ESPN).
Tuesday, April 12: The Spurs (39-1 at home) look to match the 1985-86 Celtics for the best home record in NBA history (40-1) when they play host to the Thunder at 8 p.m. on TNT.
Wednesday, April 13: Fourteen games highlight the final night of the 2015-16 regular season, including the last game of Kobe Bryant’s historic career. Bryant and the Lakers face the Jazz in Los Angeles at 10:30 p.m. on ESPN2.
Thursday, April 14: WNBA Draft 2016 presented by State Farm takes place at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. ESPN2 provides coverage and analysis of the first round beginning at 7 p.m. ET, and ESPNU airs the second and third rounds starting at 8 p.m. ET. The 2016 WNBA Draft Guide is available here.
Friday, April 15: Rosters are set for the NBA playoffs at 3 p.m.
Saturday, April 16, and Sunday, April 17: The playoffs begin.
Cavs' backcourt injuries
The Cavaliers provided the following injury news for two members of their backcourt:
Cavaliers guard Iman Shumpert will miss the final two games of the regular season after experiencing soreness and inflammation in his left knee that kept him out of Saturday’s game in Chicago. After further evaluation on Sunday, Shumpert had his left knee drained.
He will undergo additional treatment and rest over the next several days and is expected to be fully available for the start of playoff practice and preparation later this week. Shumpert will be OUT tonight versus Atlanta and Wednesday versus Detroit.
Cavaliers guard Mo Williams experienced discomfort and increased soreness in his left knee (chondromalacia) during and following the Cavaliers game in Indianapolis last Wednesday night. He traveled back to Cleveland on Thursday for further evaluation and monitoring. He is traveling today to see Dr. James Andrews in Florida for additional evaluation. His status will be updated following that and he will be OUT tonight versus Atlanta.
- Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns is set to become the seventh rookie in NBA history to average at least 18 points, 10 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots and shoot 50 percent or better from the field in a season. The others: Tim Duncan, Shaquille O’Neal, Alonzo Mourning, David Robinson, Hakeem Olajuwon and Ralph Sampson. (Blocks became an official NBA statistic in 1973-74.)
- Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum is averaging 20.9 points this season, a 14.1-point increase from last season’s average of 6.8. He is set to have the largest scoring increase (minimum 40 games each season) since Tony Campbell upped his average by 17 points per game from 1988-89 (6.2) to 1989-90 (23.2).
- Hawks forward Paul Millsap is averaging 21.5 points, 14.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 3.5 blocks and 2.0 steals in his last four games. In Saturday’s victory over Boston, Millsap became the first player in NBA history to finish with at least 30 points, 15 rebounds, five blocks and five three-pointers made.
- Rockets guard James Harden is the first player to record five games of at least 40 points and 10 assists in a season since Allen Iverson had five such games in 2005-06.
- Suns forward Mirza Teletovic has scored at least 22 points in four of his last five games. In his last 10 games, Teletovic has scored in double figures in each contest and averaged 18.3 points.
- Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan has passed Vince Carter (9,420 points) for second place on the franchise’s all-time scoring list. DeRozan (9,426) trails Chris Bosh (10,275) by 849 points.
- Toronto guard Norman Powell scored 27 points in Friday’s win over Indiana, the highest single-game total for a Raptors rookie not drafted in the first round. Powell was a second-round pick (46th overall) out of UCLA in the 2015 NBA Draft.
- With four three-pointers in Sunday’s win over Dallas, Clippers guard Jamal Crawford tied Grizzlies guard Vince Carter for sixth place on the NBA’s career list for threes made (1,933 each).
- Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith (1,679) needs seven three-pointers to pass Steve Nash (1,685) for 16th place in NBA history.
- Kings guard Darren Collison has scored in double figures as a reserve in 48 games, the most in the franchise's Sacramento-era history.
- The NBA Development League playoffs continue Tuesday with a doubleheader on ESPNU. In the first game, the Sioux Falls Skyforce visit the Canton Charge in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals (7 p.m. ET). In the second game, the Reno Bighorns play host to the Los Angeles D-Fenders in the decisive Game 3 of their Western Conference Semifinals series (9:30 p.m.).
- Charge point guard Quinn Cook today was named the 2015-16 NBA Development League Rookie of the Year.
By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services