LeBron James supporting Warriors' record chase

ByDave McMenamin ESPN logo
Sunday, April 10, 2016

CHICAGO -- Cleveland Cavaliers forwardLeBron James said it would be "pretty cool" to see the Golden State Warriorsset a new standard for regular-season excellence.

"Records are meant to be broken," James said at shootaround Saturday before the Cavs fell 105-100 to the Chicago Bulls. "That doesn't mean your record that's broken [and] anyone is looking less of you. You have rushing records that are broken. You have home run records that are broken. You have 100-yard dash [times] that are broken. You have all types of records that are broken, but no one ever looks down upon the record that is broken.

"You actually praise it even more. You look back at it like, 'Wow, they really did that?' So having Golden State in a position where if they win three in a row they can break that record, I think it's pretty cool."

The Warriors improved to 71-9 on Saturday night, rallying from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to defeat the Memphis Grizzlies 100-99. They need to win their final two games of the regular season to beat the Bulls' mark of 72 victories in 1995-96.

Golden State, which beat Cleveland in the Finals last June -- and which James has described as looking "more hungry" than the Cavs -- is just the second team in league history to reach 70 wins.

With a banner commemorating the Bulls' historic season hanging above him, James said the Warriors' run this season serves as a reminder of how good those Bulls truly were.

James was 11 when Chicago tore through the league 20 years ago, embarking on the first championship season of its second three-peat as a franchise.

Asked to share his memories of the Bulls, James didn't mention the usual suspects in Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman and Phil Jackson.

"Those guys didn't play many fourth quarters," James said. "That stood out. There were a lot of late quarters where [Toni] Kukoc and Randy Brown and Jud Buechler and those guys got in the game. So I remember that."

James also remembers being on a Cavs team in 2008-09 that ended up a handful of games short of the Bulls' record.

"Well, my best season was 66-16," James said. "I look back on it, I can remember a few games that we kind of lost that we should have won, but then I look at it as some of them we should have lost and we were able to come back and win.

"So that was a really good season for us that year. ... I don't know if I've been on a team that kind of said just, 'Let's go for the record.' You just kind of let it happen and see what happens, and I was, I guess, six games away from tying it."

Cavs coach Tyronn Lue played on a Lakers team that finished even closer to the Bulls' record in 1999-2000, going 67-15.

"It never came up on the teams I was on," Lue said. "We went 67-15 one year and had a couple big winning streaks and things like that, but just to go 72-10 or 73-9 is very big, especially in this league."

Lue was asked if he ever thought another team, like this season's Warriors, would reach the 72-win bar that the Bulls set.

"I didn't think so," Lue said. "It's definitely remarkable to win this many games in a league with so many great teams, especially being in the Western Conference, and then the East has been great this year. To do that is definitely a tribute to this team."

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