There’s a big Bay Area buzz going on in the sports world, and two figures from the area were recognized for outstanding months in March.
It’s a good time to be a sports fan in the Bay Area. The Golden State Warriors hold the best record in basketball and are chasing the best record in NBA history. The San Jose Sharks are back in the playoffs after missing last season’s tournament for the first time in a decade. The San Francisco Giants enter the 2016 season with as much promise as any team in recent memory. The Oakland Athletics appear to be on an upward swing after a terrible campaign last year. The Oakland Raiders look like a team to beat in the AFC this year. The San Francisco 49ers are, well, uh, nevermind.
Two Bay Area sports figures were awarded with monthly honors on Friday to recognize their accomplishments in the month of March. Sharks’ defenseman Brent Burns was named one of the NHL’s “Three Stars” for March, while Warriors’ head coach Steve Kerr was named the Western Conference’s Coach of the Month.
Behind Pittsburgh Penguins’ center Sidney Crosby and Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk, Burns was named the NHL’s Third Star of the Month. Burns’ was second in the league over the month with 13 assists and 19 points, en route to setting the San Jose franchise records by a defenseman with 27 goals, 46 assists, and 73 total points. In 16 games in the month, Burns totaled at least one points in 12 contests, and ended the month with streaks of five straight games with a point, and three straight games with multiple points. He was a big key to the Sharks clinching a playoff berth, their 11th in 12 years and the 18th in franchise history.
Crosby led the NHL with 14 assists and 21 points, and is third in the league overall with 80 points on the season. Dubnyk went 10-2-1 with a 2.06 goals against average, a .927 save percentage, and a shutout. He was the keeper of record in all 10 Minnesota wins during the month, falling one shy of the team’s record for most wins in a calendar month.
Kerr led Golden State to a 15-2 record in March, the best mark in the NBA, en route to earning his third career Coach of the Month honor. He was the Western Conference’s top coach in January and March of last year, as well. During the month, the Warriors set franchise records by claiming their 68th win of the season, and their 32nd road victory of the campaign. They also set the NBA record by extending their home winning streak to 54 games (still an active streak), and making 975 three-pointers on the season (and still counting).
The Warriors led the league in scoring during the month at 114 points per contest, while also pacing the league with 28.8 assists per game and a +10.1 point differential.
To show how amazing this season has been for the Warriors, Kerr isn’t even the first Warriors’ head coach to earn Coach of the Month honors. While Kerr was sidelined following complications from offseason back surgery, interim coach Luke Walton guided the team to an NBA-record 19-0 start in October and November, earning the first Coach of the Month honor given out. Of course, Walton is still winless on his official NBA head coaching record.
The Warriors are chasing the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls, who finished 72-10 as the best team in NBA history. At 68-7 currently, Golden State would need to finish the season with a 5-2 record to set a new mark. The Warriors have already matched the Bulls as the only teams to win 67 games in back-to-back seasons, joining the 1995-1996 and 1996-1997 Bulls.