Golden State’s winning streak halted by Milwaukee

Fred Jeter | 12/18/2015, 5:42 a.m.
No one is contesting the Golden State Warriors’ status as the NBA’s best team last year and thus far this ...

No one is contesting the Golden State Warriors’ status as the NBA’s best team last year and thus far this season.

But are the Warriors the best of all time?

Led by Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, the Oakland franchise is on pace to achieve the top winning record since the NBA was founded in 1946.

Already, the defending NBA team has posted the best start to the season, with 24 straight wins, and the best-ever road start, with 14 consecutive victories.

But the perfection ended Dec. 12 with a 108-95 loss at Milwaukee in what was the Warriors’ seventh straight road test.

The schedule becomes friendlier with five straight Oracle Center home games, including a Christmas Day clash with the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers. That game will be broadcast 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 25, on ABC.

The Warriors’ quest for the most consecutive wins, now held by the Los Angeles Lakers with 33 wins in 1971-72, ended in Milwaukee.

Still, Golden State is primed to eclipse the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls (70-12) for best record in a season.

The Warriors are no one-year wonder. The team was 67-15 for the regular season last year, eventually ousting Cleveland in the playoff finals.

The Warriors have prevailed this year despite the seasonlong absence of Coach Steve Kerr, who has been sidelined while recuperating from back surgery. Coach Luke Walton has run the team on an interim basis.

Also, the team has made history without any help from the past three drafts. As a result of trades, Golden State had no draft picks in 2013 or 2014. Last year’s No. 1 pick, 6-foot-9 Kevon Looney from UCLA, hasn’t played because of hip surgery.

The Warriors roster includes one Virginian, undrafted 6-foot-9 reserve James Michael McAdoo from Norfolk Christian High School and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Richmond does figure into the Warriors’ history. Former George Wythe High School and Tulsa University star Paul Pressey played for the Warriors in 1992-93 and was assistant coach in 1994.

Also former George Wythe High School and Norfolk State University forward Ray Epps played for the Warriors during the 1977-78 season, appearing in 13 games and scoring 26 points.   

Looking back …

Coach Phil Jackson’s all-time best 1995-96 Chicago Bulls were 39-2 at home and 33-8 on the road.

It is coincidental perhaps that the Warriors are the league’s most proficient three-point shooting club (13.6 per game) and Coach Kerr is the NBA career leader for three-point accuracy (44.5 percent). A proven winner, Coach Kerr played on the 1995-96 and the 1996-97 Chicago Bulls (69-13).

Among the best-ever squads, it is noteworthy the Philadelphia 76ers (68-13) of 1966-67 and the Los Angeles Lakers (69-13) of 1971-72 each featured the late Wilt Chamberlain at center.

Philadelphia’s 1966-67 team was the first to have an all-black starting lineup throughout the season. Joining Chamberlain were Luke Jackson, Chet Walker, Hal Greer and Wali Jones.

The first NBA team starting five African-American players was the 1964 Boston Celtics when Willie Naulls replaced injured Tom Heinsohn for 12 games. Other starters were Bill Russell, Sam Jones, K.C. Jones and Satch Sanders.