During this Warriors dynasty, KD and Steph and Klay and Draymond have us accustomed to the unprecedented, to the previously unfathomable expansion of options for that which can simply *be* during a basketball game.
That’s why it’s important to acknowledge another moment in the league-wide, pace-and-space mayhem: On Saturday, Steve Kerr, the coach overseeing Golden State’s championship ascent, won regular-season game No. 300 on the road in Boston.
He has been coach for 377 games.
Less than five seasons.
Let that simmer.
It took previous record-holder Pat Riley – an NBA legend and bag-full-of-rings champion as a player, coach and executive – 415 games. Half an NBA campaign behind! With the Showtime Lakers!
In fact, Kerr is the fastest to reach 300 victories in any of the nation’s major sports leagues, beating out MLB’s Frank Chance (426), the NFL’s Don Shula (442) and NHL coach Bruce Coubdreau (496). (No MLS coach has yet achieved the feat.)
This is a thing, what Kerr has accomplished.
None of this is to say Boston made this easy. The Celtics pushed the Warriors throughout, with Kyrie turning in a 32-6-10, Al Horford adding 22-13-3 and Marcus Smart nailing a tying 3 within the final minute of regulation.
But there’s a reason Kerr set a record, and it’s blending this talent every step of the way. They’ve now ripped off a winning streak of at least 10 games in each of the past six seasons, matching an NBA record held by the San Antonio Spurs (2010-16).
Also, remember how we all wondered exactly how DeMarcus Cousins would fit into the Warriors offense? No? Me either.
Boogie finished with 15 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three steals in 23 foul-plagued minutes.
Goodness. That squad is trouble. This we knew. Of this we are reminded.
Kerr wasn’t the only coach out here setting records. The NBA’s reigning coaching dean, Gregg Popovich, claimed space – also from Riley – as the career coaching leader in road victories after a 126-114 romp over the New Orleans Pelicans.
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) January 27, 2019
Letting It Ride
Out in Denver, the Nuggets hosted a shorthanded Sixers squad playing without all three frontcourt starters, and it was off to the races … for everybody.
The teams combined for 78 points in the first quarter and more than 140 at the half. This Gary Harris break preeeeeeetty much sums it all up:
Beyond that, the rolling scoreboard set up Nikola Jokic to do his all-everything deal and rack up a 32-point, 18-rebound, 10-assist triple-double. Just a day in the work for an #NBATwitter favorite.
Nikola Jokic just had 32-18-10, but I think the most fun he had all night was playing with the kids in the hallway after the game.
Jokic is the absolute best. pic.twitter.com/0kt0zxbrhf
— T.J. McBride (@TJMcBrideNBA) January 27, 2019
Also, if you blinked at the end of the third, you might have missed the rarest of NBA sights: Ben Simmons’ first 3-point attempt of the 2018-19 season (and just the 12th since his 2017 debut).
Do we applaud him for putting the attempt on the scoresheet? Or throw a #smh out there for wasting a Mewtwo-level rarity on this low-percentage heave?
Oladipo Opens Up
We finally heard from Pacers guard Victor Oladipo since his season-ending injury on Wednesday, who posted a lengthy, emotional note on social media vowing he’d return “better than ever.”
That confidence is going to be necessary during what will be an arduous recovery. A ruptured quad knocked Charles Barkley quite a ways down the playable pyramid, albeit it near the end of his career, and not rushing the recovery is always tough to balance with an athlete’s aggressive mindset.
That said, the NBA family continues to support and acknowledge Oladipo in ways big and small, with Warriors guard Quinn Cook – a high school teammate – penning a visible tribute on his kicks for Saturday’s game in Boston.
Quinn Cook played with Victor Oladipo in high school. Long-time friends. Oladipo had that devastating injury the other night. Cook has ‘VO4’ written on both shoes tonight. pic.twitter.com/T3taSpRA4w
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) January 27, 2019
Thought you blew by Myles Turner, did you, Justin Holiday?