Thursday, April 8, 2010

History made twice last night.

Last night the Golden State Warriors defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 116-107. Rookie sensation Stephen Curry had 24 points, 14 assists, and 8 rebounds and Anthony Tolliver put up 34 points and 8 rebounds. But something else happened that seems to have slipped past everyone: Don Nelson became the NBA's all-time coaching winningest coach with 1,333 wins over 31 seasons coaching the Milwaukee Bucks from 1976-1987, the Warriors from 1988-1995, the New York for a season in Knicks 1995-1996, the Dallas Mavericks (1997-2005), and then the Warriors again from 2005 to now. Nelson also played in the NBA for 14 seasons and spent the majority of his career with the Boston Celtics and won five championships with them. If you add his coaching wins to his wins as a player, it comes out to almost 2,000 total wins. Yet he has no championships as a coach.

Lenny Wilkens was the previous winningest coach with 1,332 wins over 32 seasons with the Seattle Sonics, Portland Trail Blazers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta Hawks, Toronto Raptors, and New York Knicks. In the 1978-1979 season he won his only championship while leading a Sonics team that included Gus Williams, Jack Sikma, and Denis Johnson. Third place on the winningest coaches list is Pat Riley, with 1,210 wins and five championships over 24 seasons. Fourth is Jerry Sloan with 1,187 wins over 25 seasons. Sloan could certainly catch Nelson, but he's nearly 70 years old and Nelson doesn't appear to be slowing down any time soon.

Nelson sets NBA career victories mark in Warriors' defeat of Wolves (ESPN)

Last night's other historical mark was the Charlotte Bobcats clinching their first berth in the playoffs after a 104-103 win over the New Orleans Hornets, the team they replaced in Charlotte. While this may not necessarily be worthy of being declared as "historical" on the leaguewide level, it certainly is for the Bobcats team. Upon joining the NBA in 2004, they immediately became one of the league's bottom-dwellers with an 18-64 opening season. But they've gotten better as a team every season and now finally have a pretty good team that is coached by Larry Brown (who is pretty high up on the winningest coaches list himself) and led by Gerald Wallace, Stephen Jackson, and Raymond Felton. The Bobcats will have the 7th seed in the playoffs which means they will play the #2 Orlando Magic in the first round.

Bobcats beat Hornets, clinch 1st playoff spot (Yahoo! Sports)

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