OAKLAND (CBS SF) – It hasn’t been too long since Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry came to the gym for an April practice and it would be all but empty except for his teammates and coaches.
That wasn’t the case Tuesday. Reporters and cameramen stood 3-4 deep at one end of the court ready to pounce for a few minutes of interview time.
Curry and the Warriors are the defending NBA champions and are on the brink of setting an all-time single regular season win record in their finale Wednesday night.
“My rookie year sucked because at the All-Star break we were already out of it,” he said. “It was just about trying to establish myself as a player, trying to figure out how I could get better and get to the next level.”
“Success at that point was just figuring out how to finish the year strong. Win, lose or draw just trying to find the opportunity to get better every night. Now I still have that mindset, but we’re trying to literally win every game.”
The Warriors are 72-9 and have tied the 1995-96 Bulls for the most single regular season wins ever. A victory over Memphis on Wednesday will give them 73 and the record all to themselves.
“I knew what it (the Bulls regular season win record) was but you never really thought about it in perspective of anybody chasing it. It was kind of that number that was out there that seemed invincible,” Curry said after practice Tuesday. “Even at the beginning of this year, even when we started 24-0, it was kind of: ‘Well, maybe we can do it. We’re going to keep playing every night with the intention of winning as many games as possible,’ but it just sounded kind of ludicrous, 72-10, how much good play has to go into it. We’re there now, 72-9, and we’ve got one more chance to beat it.”
But his first three seasons in the league when the Warriors did not even qualify for the playoffs weigh heavy on Curry’s mind.
“It reminds us how far we have come,” he said. “The first three years we didn’t make the playoffs so your perspective is a little different come April. You want to be one of those teams that has something meaningful to play for — playing games in April, May and June that matter. To be in this position is special.”
And when he takes the court Wednesday, he knows that his team has earned a rendezvous with history.
“We have an opportunity to do something that has never been done in history,” he said. “So many great players have suited up since the NBA began. For us 15 guys to say we’ve accomplished something as a group that has never been done before that’s remarkable.”
“We’ve earned a right to have a 48-minute game to clinch that mark and we have to go out and finish the job and do it the right way.”
Curry says he’ll allow himself a short celebration, but he knows there is more work to be done.
“We get that last game, after 82 games, just the grind, that deserves a moment to reflect,” he said. “But come Thursday when we step onto the floor getting ready for the playoffs when it matters, we have to move on.”