Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Don Nelson sets career wins record

MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—Don Nelson, one of the NBA’s true mavericks, is now the league’s winningest coach.

Nelson set the career record for victories in the Golden State Warriors’ 116-107 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night, notching win No. 1,333 to surpass Lenny Wilkens.

Stephen Curry had 27 points, 14 assists, eight rebounds and a career-high seven steals and Anthony Tolliver(notes) scored a career-high 34 points to get Nelson over the hump.

He is 1,333-1,061 in 31 seasons on the bench.

Kevin Love had 17 points and 18 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who cut a 27-point deficit 108-104 with 43.6 seconds left.

But the Warriors closed the game out at the free throw line and Ronny Turiaf(notes) poured a cup of Gatorade onto Nelson’s gray head of hair as the team engulfed their 69-year-old coach to celebrate.

It was extra special for Nelson to do it in Minnesota. He has a daughter who lives in the Minneapolis suburb of Minnetonka and had 20 family and friends at the game, including his wife.

He wasn’t in the reflecting mood before the game, but said he has been in contact with Wilkens as he has approached the record.

“Lenny’s been an idol of mine for a long time,” he said.

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Nelson still has a little ways to go to catch Wilkens in career losses. Wilkens coaching career record was 1,332 wins and 1,155 losses. But, if he sticks to his plan of retiring after next season, he won't get there.

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