NEW YORK (WFAN) — The final night of the NBA regular season brings two major story lines as Kobe Bryant takes his final bow and the Golden State Warriors look to break the league’s single-season wins record.
Ira Winderman, who covers the Miami Heat for the Sun-Sentinel, spoke about those topics with Mike Francesa on Wednesday.
Bryant is retiring after a remarkable 20-year career that included 18 All-Star selections and five world championships. Now 37, however, Bryant is a shadow of his former self, and with him, the Lakers have sludged through a 16-65 season — only the 76ers were worse.
“It’s a wonderful story of the love and adulation that’s going on at the end, and I appreciate where people are coming from with that,” Winderman said on WFAN. “But to me, it’s also the cautionary tale of why when so many people lament the Knicks letting Patrick Ewing going at the end and not keeping him to the finish, you can also see how it can destroy a team at the end and destroy a season.”
As for the Warriors, Francesa argued that Spurs coach Gregg Poppovich threw “a wet blanket” on Sunday’s game between Golden State and San Antonio by downplaying its importance.
The Warriors will try to win their 73rd game Wednesday night, which would break the record set by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls.
“They are one of the all-time great teams, so we can’t deny that,” Winderman said. “But when it comes to what Gregg Popovich did, including sitting (Tim) Duncan on Sunday, he is just smarter than us, and he’s trying to outsmart the situation, and he’s not going to give up his edge. He knew he was not going to have home court. He knew that no matter how this thing played out, he was going to have to play at the Warriors in the Western Conference finals anyway, and so he held back.”
To listen to the full interview, click on the audio player above.