It took only 39 years for the Golden State Warriors to clinch the Pacific Division. Not to negate their back-to-back playoff appearances in the last two years. But the 122-108 victory over the Portland Trailblazers last night is a bit more special. First-year head coach Steve Kerr took over a team already on the rise. But he added an ingredient many would say "was the cherry on top" of an already made cake.
The Warriors hold the best record in the NBA and have maintained that throughout the season, while occasionally switching with the Atlanta Hawks who are now five games behind. It's another accomplishment this team has achieved while under former NBA Champion Kerr, who has taught his team the value of winning.
"We're very comfortable with how we're going to get shots every single night," Kerr said. "Then its just about executing and not turning the ball over, staying aggressive and making smart plays."
Sometimes the fundamentals can be the key to success, especially with as much talent as Golden State has on this year's team. Draymond Green moving into the starting rotation was a big factor. As well as Stephen Curry developing into an All-Star player that he envisioned his rookie year. With 11 games remaining, the Warriors only want to get better.
"Obviously, we all know the goal, but it takes baby steps," Green said. "You reach certain milestones to get the main goal, and this is one of them. The goal is still the goal, so the focus must remain the same."
They're eight wins away from clinching the best record in the NBA and home court advantage throughout the playoffs. And four wins away from clinching the West. The last time the Warriors won back-to-back Pacific crowns was in 1974-75 and 1975-76. Making their third appearance in the playoffs, Golden State seems to be on cruise control in this second half of the season.
On Tuesday night, the team was presented with t-shirts that said "Pacific Claimed" and took a team photo in the locker room. The Warriors are not done recording milestones this year. They're one win away from the franchise's best season. The 1975-76 squad held the franchise best record with 59 wins.
"We might be a little subdued, but I think everybody is proud of what we've done," Curry said. "We still have 11 games left to keep getting better so I think everybody is focused on that."