Warriors set record but playoffs bring 'clean slate'

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Stephen Curry leads Golden State Warriors to NBA record 73rd win of the season

OAKLAND, Calif., April 13 (Reuters) - Now that the Golden State Warriors have set the NBA record for most wins during a regular season, the team must grapple with an even bigger challenge: winning a second consecutive championship.

The Warriors, led by reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry, finished the season at 73-9 after decimating the middling Memphis Grizzlies 124-104 on Wednesday. The win moved them ahead of the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, who had previously held the single season record for victories with 72.

That Bulls team went on to steamroll opponents in the playoffs. Led by Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman, the Bulls lost only one game before facing the Seattle SuperSonics in the finals, who they defeated in six games.

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, who also played on the Bulls that historic year, said the end of the regular season brings a "clean slate."

"We've been getting ready for the playoffs for a long time," Kerr, whose Warriors will face the Houston Rockets in the first round of the playoffs, said on Wednesday.

RELATED: Golden State Warriors visit President Obama in the White House:

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Warriors set record but playoffs bring 'clean slate'
President Barack Obama accepts a Golden State Warriors basketball jersey from head coach Steve Kerr, left, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, where the president honored the 2015 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors basketball team. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 04: Steve Kerr presents President Barack Obama with a personalized jersey during the Golden State Warriors visit to the White House to celebrate their 2015 NBA Championship on February 4, 2016 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 04: President Barack Obama poses for a photo during the Golden State Warriors visit to the White House to celebrate their 2015 NBA Championship on February 4, 2016 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 04: President Barack Obama poses for a photo during the Golden State Warriors visit to the White House to celebrate their 2015 NBA Championship on February 4, 2016 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 04: President Barack Obama speaks to the crowd during the Golden State Warriors visit to the White House to celebrate their 2015 NBA Championship on February 4, 2016 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 04: Steve Kerr presents President Barack Obama with a personalized jersey during the Golden State Warriors visit to the White House to celebrate their 2015 NBA Championship on February 4, 2016 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 04: U.S. President Barack Obama pretends to shoot a basketball as Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr points out that Obama will be a 'free agent' next year during an event with the team in the East Room of the White House on February 4, 2016 in Washington, DC. Obama welcomed the 2015 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors to the White House to congratulate the team on their championship season. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 04: U.S. President Barack Obama, surrounded by the Golden State Warriors, speaks during an event with the team in the East Room of the White House on February 4, 2016 in Washington, DC. Obama welcomed the 2015 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors to the White House to congratulate the team on their championship season. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 04: U.S. President Barack Obama holds a Golden State Warriors basketball jersey during an event with the team in the East Room on February 4, 2016 in Washington, DC. Obama welcomed the 2015 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors to the White House to congratulate the team on their championship season. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama holds a jersey as he poses with the 2015 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors during an event in their honor in the East Room of the White House on February 4, 2015 in Washington, DC. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama holds a jersey as he poses with the 2015 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors during an event in their honor in the East Room of the White House on February 4, 2015 in Washington, DC. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama holds a jersey presented to him during an event honoring the 2015 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors in the East Room of the White House on February 4, 2015 in Washington, DC. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama points to Golden State Warrior basketball player Stephen Curry, center, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, where the president honored the 2015 NBA Champions. At right is Warriors guard Shaun Livingston. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Golden State Warriors head basketball coach Steve Kerr presents President Barack Obama with a Golden State Warriors team basketball jersey during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, where the president honored the 2015 NBA Champions. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
US President Barack Obama (L) and Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry pose during an event honoring the 2015 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors in the East Room of the White House on February 4, 2015 in Washington, DC. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 04: U.S. President Barack Obama, surrounded by the Golden State Warriors, waves following an event with the team in the East Room of the White House on February 4, 2016 in Washington, DC. Obama welcomed the 2015 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors to the White House to congratulate the team on their championship season. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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Good coaches set up rituals throughout the season so that players get used to quickly processing victory, or defeat, and turning to the next challenge, said Joe Lenac, a sports psychologist who has consulted for the NFL's St. Louis Rams.

"It's cool to get the record, but can we still keep our minds on the fact that today is another day at the office?" Lenac said. "What do we have to do at the office to do our job well?"

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During their playoff run last year, the Warriors went 16-5. However, some of their opponents grappled with key injuries.

Basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley, now a television announcer, made that point on TNT this week and said: "I'm guaranteeing the Warriors will not win the world championship."

After the game, Kerr pointed out that the Warriors were able to break the record and keep all their players healthy. And forward Draymond Green dismissed critics, saying the team is "definitely ready" for the playoffs because they've been targeted by other teams for weeks.

"Everyone else's pressure is going to start to equalize ours," he said. (Editing by Frank Pingue)

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