By Jay Rich
Hip Hop Vibe Staff Writer
It’s a great time to be a Golden State Warriors fan, and arguably the best time in franchise history since the team moved to the Bay Area.
However, the past of the club is certainly not without its golden moments. But how do they compare to the Splash Bros.’ reign of today?
We’ll let you make that call after you look at our list of the best Warriors games of all-time.
May 25, 1975: Warriors 96, Bullets 95
Long before today’s Warriors were heavy favorites in two consecutive NBA Finals, they were heavy underdogs in the 1975 Finals. Despite having to play their series home game at the Cow Palace instead of the usual Oakland Arena due to scheduling conflicts, the Warriors breezed through the Elvin Hayes and Wes Unseld-led Bullets.
Game 4 was the closest, and it looked like Washington was going to avoid being swept on their home floor after jumping out to an early 14-point lead. But a minor brawl that saw Bullets’ forward Mike Riordan ejected completely shifted the momentum of the game. Rick Barry and Butch Beard then helped the Warriors surge back, and Beard made two late free throws to give the team a 96-95 win (and their last title until the arrival of Steph).
April 29, 2007: Warriors 111, Mavericks 86
It had been some time since GSW fans had had much to cheer about, but finally in 2007, after a 13-year drought, the Warriors were back in the playoffs. Never mind that they were the #8 seed against the heavily-favored Mavericks, just ending the historic playoff drought was great and anything else (like not getting swept) was icing on the cake.
But much more than icing was delivered. The series opened with Baron Davis dropping 33 on the unsuspecting Mavs, and from there the series was a heated, back-and-forth one. Dallas won Game 4 to cut the Warriors’ lead from three games to two, but would have nothing left from there. In Game 6, a 18-0 run in the third quarter, seven three-pointers from Stephen Jackson, and 2-13 FG mark from Dirk Nowitzki finished off the Mavs once and for all, making Golden State the first #8 seed to win a best-of-seven first round series in NBA history.
December 3, 2013: Warriors 112, Raptors 103
2013-14 was a season that in retrospect looks like a mere building block to the juggernaut that now is Warriors basketball, but it delivered some great moments fans will always cherish. One of the best of those came in a December game against Toronto.
After going into the breakdown 65-48, Jermaine O’Neal gave an impassioned halftime speech that would eventually trigger a historic rally in the second half. Down 75-48 in the third, the Warriors would inch back thanks in part to 27- and 22-point performances from Curry and Thompson. The 27-point record they would eventually overcome was the franchise’s biggest comeback since the 1960s.
June 6, 2015: Warriors 105, Cavaliers 97
Thirty years after last appearing in the NBA Finals, the Warriors were back. After skating their way through both the regular season and the playoffs, the only thing left in their way was a team with an even-longer title drought in LeBron’s Cavaliers. However, Cleveland was considered to be a one-dimensional team, and many online sportsbooks were giving the Warriors odds as high as -455 in some of the series’ games. Many of the well-known online sports betting books saw a high interest in this Warriors game.
After the Dubs won the opening game, Cleveland would win the next two. Two 10+ point wins would then reclaim the series lead for Golden State, setting up a potential series-clinching Game 6. The game was back and forth, with the Warriors gaining a couple of big leads only to immediately relinquish them back. Up four with under 40 seconds left, the Warriors would hit their free throws to seal the deal and ultimately win the Oakland area their first sports championship since 1989. And those smart bettors that put money on Golden State ahead of the series probably also had some nice wins that night, too.
April 14, 2016: Warriors 125, Grizzlies 104
Although the lasting memory of the season is a sour one, the 2015-16 Warriors gave fans many moments that fans of any other team would kill to have. The pinnacle of those came in the last game of the regular season.
With 46 points from Curry, the Warriors soundly defeated Memphis and had officially claimed their 73rd win, breaking the record of Michael Jordan’s 1995-96 Bulls. The win also tied the franchise record for home wins (39), set the previous year. Despite the 3-1 blown series lead in the Finals, 73 wins is not something that just goes away in a single offseason, but instead is likely another stepping stone that will lead to many more unforgettable Warriors moments and games.
Follow Jay Rich on Twitter @JRichardson2597.