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Golden State of nirvana as Bogut makes history

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As Andrew Bogut’s Golden State Warriors claimed one of the NBA’s great records, Joe Ingles’ Utah Jazz became the final victim of Kobe Bryant’s great career at the Los Angeles Lakers.

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The Warriors and 37-year-old Bryant were spectacular.

The Jazz ended their season in disappointment.

The Warriors destroyed the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday in Oakland 125-104 to achieve a 73 win, 9 loss regular season.

It eclipsed by one victory the mark set by Michael Jordan and Luc Longley’s all-conquering 1995-96 Chicago Bulls.

Melbourne-born Warriors’ centre Bogut welcomed the win, but immediately turned his focus to the playoffs, which begin on Saturday when the defending champion Warriors host the Houston Rockets.

“We have to finish it off with that ring,” Bogut said.

“That’s the toughest thing… we want to be proud of what we accomplished, but we have a tough Houston team coming to town.”

The Warriors were led by reigning NBA MVP Steph Curry, who had 46 points and shattered his own season three point record.

Curry sank 10 three-pointers against the Grizzlies, taking his season tally to 402 and easily beating last year’s record 286.

epaselect epa05257997 Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry (C) speaks to the media after the NBA basketball game between the Golden State Warriors and the Memphis Grizzlies at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, USA, 13 April 2016. The Warriors won their 73rd game in a season, to break the NBA record of 72 wins in a season held by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls.  EPA/MONICA M. DAVEY CORBIS OUT

Steph Curry speaks to the media after the game. Photo: MONICA M. DAVEY, EPA.

“The game of basketball is always evolving and records are made to be broken,” Michael Jordan said in a statement.

“The Warriors have been a lot of fun to watch and I look forward to seeing what they do in the playoffs.”

Bryant, after 20 years in the NBA, had one of his greatest games as the woeful Lakers hosted the Jazz.

It appeared the Jazz would spoil Bryant’s final game played at a packed, star-studded Staples Center where courtside seats were selling for more than $US20,000 each.

The Jazz led for most of the game and held a 12-point lead with nine minutes left in the fourth quarter.

Bryant refused to bow out a loser and ended the game with 60 points from a barrage of three-pointers and big plays.

The 37-year-old, who has struggled with injury the past three years, played 42 minutes.

“A perfect ending would have been a championship, but tonight it was about going out and putting on a show as good as I could,” Bryant said.

South Australian Ingles, who watched helplessly as Bryant dropped one of his six three-pointers on him, said there was little the Jazz could do.

“He made some tough shots,” Ingles said.

“I don’t think we were laying off on him or letting him get anything.”

The Jazz had hoped to grab the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, but the Rockets victory on Wednesday over the Sacramento Kings earned them the match-up with the Warriors.

Ingles said he would fly back to Australia in the next few days to be with his wife and champion netballer Renae, who is expecting twins in August.

Ingles said he will still be going to Rio Olympics, which begin on August 5, with Bogut and the rest of the Australian squad.

“We’ve talked about it, she’s an athlete and understands,” Ingles said.

“They are twins so there’s a great chance they will come a lot earlier so we’re pretty confident I’ll be home for it, but if not I’ll see them when I get back I guess.”

-AAP

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