The Warriors once again had a late-season opportunity to move two games ahead of the pace set by the record-setting 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, and this time they summoned the resolve to take advantage.
Outscoring the Jazz 14-7 overtime, the Warriors pulled out a 103-96 victory Wednesday night to push their record to 68-7 through 75 games. Those Bulls, who finished 72-10, were 66-9 at the same juncture.
The win established a new franchise-record for wins in a single season.
Stephen Curry scored a game-high 31 points, including 6 in OT, as the Warriors disappointed the sellout crowd at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City. Klay Thompson tossed in 18 points, Draymond Green totaled 13 and Harrison Barnes added 15.
The Warriors arrived in Salt Lake City around 3 a.m. Wednesday morning and showed the effects of playing the second night of a back-to-back set. They started well enough, shooting 50 percent in the first quarter and taking a five-point lead, but tailed off appreciably before recovering late in regulation and taking over in OT.
The Warriors committed 18 turnovers, to 15 for Utah, and were outrebounded 54-46. The Jazz (37-38) had significant advantages in points in the paint, 40-34, and second-chance points, 22-11.
Utah, a potential first-round opponent, was held to 40.2 shooting from the field.
In their most recent previous chance to go two games ahead of the pace of the ’95-’96 Bulls, the Warriors lost to the Lakers on March 6 in Los Angeles.
Though no member of the Warriors played particularly well for most of the game, Curry and Green were effective at critical points of a tight game.
Curry’s line: 31 pints (11-of-23 shooting, 5-of-10 from deep), seven rebounds, four assists and two steals. He played 42 minutes and finished plus-6 for the game.
Green’s line: 13 points (5-of-10, 1-of-3), eight rebounds, six assists and three blocked shots. He played 43 minutes and finished plus-5.
Trailing 82-74 with 6:18 to play, the Warriors closed the game on a 15-7 run to push it into OT.
Thompson drilled a 3-pointer with 15 seconds remaining to pull the Warriors into an 89-89 tie and force the extra period.
Warriors: F Brandon Rush (R knee bruise) was listed as questionable but upgraded to available prior to tipoff. C Festus Ezeli (L knee surgery), F Andre Iguodala (L ankle sprain) and F Kevon Looney (R hip soreness) were listed as out.
Jazz: G Alec Burks (R fibula fracture) and G Dante Exum (L ACL surgery) were listed as out.
The Warriors immediately after the game returned to Oakland, where on Friday they play host to the Boston Celtics at Oracle Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:40 p.m.