NEWS OF THE MORNING
No. 1: Warriors bask in NBA’s first 16-0 start — What was pondered a day ago has become fact today — the Golden State Warriors are the sole owners of the best start in NBA history. Last night’s romp against the Los Angeles Lakers moves the Warriors to 16-0 and, perhaps, increases talk that they could challenge the 1996 Chicago Bulls’ 72-win mark come season’s end. At any rate, the team is soaking in this moment — as much as they’ll allow themselves — writes Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle:
No matter what happens the rest of the season, the 2015-16 Warriors will be remembered for what they accomplished Tuesday night at Oracle Arena.
The Warriors dominated the Lakers 111-77 for their 16th consecutive victory to open the season — something no other team in the history of the league has achieved and something that seemed unfathomable three weeks ago.
The Warriors have been so forceful during their record-breaking run that imaginations are running wild with fantasies about winning 34 in a row, finishing with 73 victories and building the foundation of a dynasty.
“Eventually, we will lose,” said Warriors interim head coach Luke Walton, who watched his players’ subdued celebration on the postgame court and then matched their tone in the locker room.
Walton congratulated each player for entering his name into the NBA record books, and then he reminded the entire team that it’s November. There are still 66 regular-season games to play over the next 4½ months.
Beating opponents by an average of 15.6 points per game, the Warriors are drawing comparisons to the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls. The Michael Jordan-led team won 72 of 82 regular-season games, and the Stephen Curry-led Warriors appear capable of making a run at the feat.
Curry had 24 points and nine assists without stepping onto the floor during the fourth quarter, other than to celebrate the highlights of the reserve players and to toss candy into a sellout crowd of close to 20,000.
Draymond Green, who started the night by taking a microphone to midcourt and saying, “Let’s make history,” added 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists. The Warriors also got 13 points from Leandro Barbosa, 11 from Klay Thompson, nine from Festus Ezeli and eight apiece from Andrew Bogut and Harrison Barnes.
But their defense was even more impressive than their No. 1-ranked offense. As if things weren’t bad enough already for the Lakers (2-12), they were limited to 37.8 percent shooting and had nearly as many turnovers (15) as assists (16).
Kobe Bryant had four points on 1-of-14 shooting, perfectly illustrating the shift of power in the NBA’s Pacific Division. The Oakland arena, which used to be split close to 50-50 when the Lakers were in town, included only a handful of purple and gold jerseys and got playoff loud every time Bryant missed.
“The challenge for (the Warriors) is going to be conflict,” Bryant said. “You’ve got to have some kind of internal conflict thing. It keeps the team on edge. If not, it becomes so easy that you just kind of coast. You kind of fall into a malaise.”