With a 111-77 defeat of the Los Angeles Lakers, the Golden State Warriors became the first team in NBA history to start a season 16-0, besting the previous mark of 15-0 set by the 1948-49 Washington Capitols and 1993-94 Houston Rockets.
The Warriors dominated the game from the opening tip-off to the final buzzer, using a 30-11 first-quarter blitz to put the Lakers away early and never looking back. With the 34-point victory over the hapless Lakers (2-12), the Warriors have an average point differential of +15.6, with 11 wins coming by double figures:
“It’s special. I can barely talk about it right now,” a reflective Stephen Curry said on the TNT broadcast. “A lot of great players have played in this league, and there have been a lot of great teams and nobody has accomplished what this team has tonight. So you have to be proud of those kind of moments.”
The 16-game winning streak not only gives the Warriors and Dub Nation the best start in NBA history, but it also makes Golden State the first team in NBA history to post win streaks of 16 games or more in consecutive seasons after they had a 17-game streak during their champion season. Although the Warriors play eight of their next nine games on the road, they’re focused on keeping the streak going as long as they possibly can:
“To set a record for most wins to start a season, it shows our focus level, it shows the growth of this team, the growth of this organization. It’s pretty amazing,” Draymond Green said on the Warriors broadcast after the win. “As long as we stay locked in and continue to be who we are and play as a team and continue to play with each other, I think the sky is the limit.”
One thing which should alarm many of the Warriors’ future opponents is that the defending champions are on this historic run without consistently bringing their “A” game every night. In three of their wins, specifically the two games against the Los Angeles Clippers and a game against the Brooklyn Nets, the Warriors needed two late fourth-quarter double-digit rallies and overtime to keep their historic streak alive.
Although they didn’t need it to clinch the record against the Lakers, the Warriors’ fearsome “death” lineup consisting of Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, Harrison Barnes and Green has been a huge factor in their overall success. That lineup has consistently closed out tight games and have dominated opponents 212-125 in 62 minutes of play, leaving many future opponents already dreading playing the Warriors as they shift their focus to bigger and better things.
For interim head coach Luke Walton, who’s a two-time NBA champion as a player with the Lakers, the accomplishment is something to be celebrated, but in the big picture the Warriors’ work is far from over (via Warriors.com):
“We went by and congratulated each player for what they did. They’re in the history books,” Walton said at his postgame press conference. “But we also reminded them that it is November and we have a lot of work to do. This turned into a mini goal a couple of games ago. We accomplished it, but now we have to make sure we don’t drop off and give a game away now just because we broke this record.”
Due to winning the last four games of last season, Golden State’s overall regular-season winning streak is actually at 20 games. The longest winning streak in regular-season play is 33 games, set by the 1971-72 Lakers. If they want to break that record, the Warriors must stay unbeaten through Christmas Day when they play LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in what would be Game 33 of the streak.