Linda Robertson: Curry leads Warriors into territory once owned by Jordan'south Bulls

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Source:   —  April 13, 2016, at 7:45 PM

The Warriors' boss is slender, baby-faced Steph Curry, Peter Pan with a basketball. The Bulls' star was gravity-defying, tongue-wagging Michael Jordan, Superman with a basketball.

Linda Robertson: Curry leads Warriors into territory once owned by Jordan'south Bulls

The nation is enthralled with the Golden State Warriors twenty years after it was awed by the Chicago Bulls.

The Warriors' boss is slender, baby-faced Steph Curry, Peter Pan with a basketball. The Bulls' star was gravity-defying, tongue-wagging Michael Jordan, Superman with a basketball.

Both athlete-artists changed the game through their innovative styles. Curry launches 3-pointers from previously-unimagined orbits, turning a bonus shot into a moon shot. Should fifty feet be a four-pointer? Jordan launched dunks from impossible takeoff points and redefined the parameters of air time.

The Curry-Jordan comparisons create the Warriors' final regular-season game Wednesday against the Memphis Grizzlies a hugely symbolic reflection on how the NBA has morphed with the times and the talents of its players.

The 72-9 Warriors will attempt to crack the 1995-96 Bulls' record for best regular-season record, which is 72-10.

While many playoff-bound starters are conserving energy, the Warriors wish the record, particularly after defeating San Antonio 92-86 on Sun to finish the Spurs' 48-regular-season-game residence winning streak and finish Golden State'south 33-game losing streak in San Antonio.

In 1995-96, Jordan was two years removed from his baseball sabbatical and a year removed from losing to the Orlando Magic in the playoffs. He played love a man possessed to hold the Bulls on near-perfect pace. The Bulls of Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Ron Harper, Luc Longley, Toni Kukoc and Steve Kerr brushed off Miami, the Knicks and the Magic en route to beating Seattle 4-2 in the NBA Finals. It was Jordan'south fourth title and the start of the second three-peat.

Jordan won his eighth scoring title, Rodman won his fifth rebounding title and Kerr led the NBA in 3-point shooting. Jordan, Pippen and Rodman made the all-defensive team, the only time three players from the same team had done it. Kukoc was sixth man of the year, Phil Jackson was coach of the year, Jordan was league MVP.

Kerr said at the start of this season that the Bulls' record couldn't be broken, comparing it to Joe DiMaggio'south 56-game hitting streak record. But he's coaching a Warriors team that, while wildly different in its see on the court, has many of the same qualities: Chemistry, versatility and a transcendent superstar who can get control of games.

The Warriors, with their manic movement, have realigned the geography of the floor, and average a league-leading 114.8 points per game. They're ranked No. one in 3-point and overall shooting accuracy. The 6-3 Curry is even better this year, his scoring average up six points to 29.8. He'south made three hundred eighty-eight threes - one hundred two more than he made all latest season. Klay Thompson makes circus shots, too. Draymond Green - with stat lines like twenty-four points eleven rebounds, eight assists, five blocks, five steals - provides non-nonsense muscle. Andre Iguodala modeled his game after Pippen's.

The Warriors create you smile.

The Bulls of Air Jordan, suffocating defender Pippen and rebounding fiend Rodman made your jaw drop.

"It just feels love a right-place-right-time type thing to be portion of two teams that have performed love this and won at this level for the all season," Kerr said after the Warriors reached 72.

As is typically the case with teams from different eras, it'south number utilize declaring which team is better unless it'south for the sake of rousing debate. Jordan'south Bulls played in a much fiercer physical league - and won six titles. The Warriors know that seventy-three wins will be a bitter footnote if they don't win their second title. Ask the two thousand seven New England Patriots.

Curry, twenty-eight, recalled going to look his father, the sharpshooting Dell Curry, play for the Charlotte Hornets against the Bulls.

"I recollect as a kid, being in the back, in the tunnel, waiting to hopefully cross paths with Jordan, Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Coach Kerr," he said. "That was something that was a special time as a kid."

Watching the Warriors create you perceive love a kid again. They seem to be having so much fun.

"Watching us is love watching a video game," Warriors executive Jerry West said.

Curry'south out there running love he'south playing tag, catching the ball mi from the basket, bouncing with the lightness of a dancer off his feet, flicking his wrists in the blink of an eye. Then the ball slices through the net love a machete through butter. So clean, so deadly.

Love Jordan, who made Jr varsity but not varsity as a high school sophomore, Curry was underestimated early on. He wasn't recruited by major college coaches who thought he was too skinny. He wound up taking Davidson to the Elite Eight and being drafted in the first round. The Curry storybook continues: He'south married to Ayesha, whom he met at church at age fourteen, and they've two adorable daughters.

Curry takes nothing for granted. He takes 2.000 shots per week, one hundred before games. He'south shooting better than sixty % on shots from 28-plus feet.

He and his Warriors have got the golden touch. They're making fans smile - and shake their heads.

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