Interim head coach Luke Walton was blunt in his assessment as 44 days into the regular season the Golden State Warriors suffered their first defeat, ending a record NBA unbeaten start of 24 games.
– #360USA: Ridiculous rules robbing Walton place in NBA history
– #360business: Unlikely driving force behind Nets’ tranformation
– Tweets in 2015: Sport’s most retweeted social media posts
The 108-95 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night came at the end of a gruelling seven-game road trip for the weary Warriors, who had needed a double overtime marathon to beat the Boston Celtics on Friday.
“Losing sucks even if you are 24-1,” admitted Walton. Their regular season unbeaten record had stretched back to April 7 and the Warriors fell just five wins shy of equalling the NBA all-time record of 33 straight victories set by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1971-72 season.
December 12th, 2015: Golden State Warriors, 24-1. December 12th, 1995: Chicago Bulls, 16-2. pic.twitter.com/UlhuUEY7g9
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 13, 2015
“Nobody wanted to see it come to an end,” said point guard Stephen Curry. “Thirty three wins was within our grasp.”
Golden States’ win streak stands as the second-longest in league history, and the longest to start a season. It has been two-and-a-half weeks since they set the record for the best start in history at 16-0.
In a strange twist of fate, the Bucks were also the team that ended the Lakers’ run with a 120-104 victory on January 9, 1972. Reigning MVP Curry paced the Warriors’ attack with a team high 28 points in front of a crowd of 18,700 at Harris Bradley Center.
Both clubs were playing the second nights of back-to-backs. But the Bucks were able to battle through the fatigue better than Golden State, who were coming off their most trying contest of the season, a hard-fought 124-119 win over the Celtics in Boston.
The Warriors shot just 40.9 percent from the field and only six-for-26 from beyond the arc.
Forward Draymond Green said: “I am not happy it is over because at the end of the day what we did was pretty cool. But it is almost like a sense of relief.
“When you turn on the TV and all you see is Warriors streaking, Warriors making history. Who is going to stop them? You start to believe that.”
Curry said they can be proud of their achievement, but now it is time to move on. “Nobody wanted it to end,” he said. “We wanted every night to put another notch in the belt of that streak. We ended up with our first loss but we can appreciate what we were able to accomplish.”
The Bucks improved to 10-15 and sit in last in the Cental Division. Center Greg Monroe, who tallied 28 points and 11 rebounds, said: “We wanted to come out with a lot of effort and energy. We were at home, a packed house. It was a great opportunity for us.”