MINNEAPOLIS — One thousand, three hundred, thirty-three.
For months, Warriors coach Don Nelson has downplayed this number as just one of many, the product of his being on the sidelines since before the first "Rocky" movie was released.
But Wednesday, Nelson reached this magic number, and it inked his name in the history books. With Wednesday's 116-107 win over Minnesota, Nelson passed Lenny Wilkens as the winningest coach in NBA history.
And as his players mobbed him — jumping on him, messing up his hair, pouring Gatorade cups full of Mountain Dew all over him — it was clear this was more than just one of many numbers.
"I have so much respect for the number now because wins are so hard to get," said Nelson, who has coached 93 fewer games than Wilkens. "We fight and we scrap and normally we don't win. So you really appreciate how hard it is to win games in the NBA. I don't care how many you win, they're hard."
One thousand sixty-one.
That's the number of losses Nelson has racked up in 31 seasons as a head coach. By the look on his face sometimes, it probably seems like all of them came this season.
But the progress of his players has helped lessen the disappointment of losing. Nelson said he has every intention of finishing out his contract, which has one year for $6 million remaining, and one reason he wants to is to continue to develop the youngsters — players such as forward Anthony Tolliver, the NBA Development League call-up who set a career-high with 34 points to go with eight rebounds on Wednesday. Center Chris Hunter, another former D-Leaguer, had 14 points and five rebounds while playing with a broken nose.
But perhaps no player brings Nelson more joy than rookie guard Stephen Curry. The Rookie of the Year candidate had his most complete game as a pro Wednesday: 27 points, 14 assists, eight rebounds and seven steals. Only three players in NBA history have put together such a line, Curry being the first rookie.
"I think as the year has gone on, he's invested a little more in me from a coaching standpoint, focusing on teaching me how to be a better player because I think he sees a lot in me," Curry said. "Every coach says it's a joy to coach you, but you could tell he meant it."
It appeared for a moment Wednesday as if Nelson would get loss No. 1,062. Golden State's 27-point third-quarter lead was down to 108-104 with 43.6 seconds remaining.
But guard Anthony Morrow followed with eight consecutive free throws to prevent the collapse. It wasn't the high-drama, emotional ending the team experienced when Nelson tied Wilkens in Toronto on Sunday. But it was a fitting way to break the record.
"When he called me to recruit me as a free agent," center Ronny Turiaf said, "I asked him how does it feel to be on the path to be the winningest coach ever. At the time, he didn't want to talk about it. And now we finally did it.
"I'm glad we didn't win by 20. It would've been too easy. It's better when you have difficulties and you have to stress a little bit about it. This road trip is going to stick with me, and I guarantee it's going to stay with each of my teammates, and especially Nelson."
That's another number that will stay with Nelson. It's the number of NBA titles he has as a coach, perhaps the number most responsible for his being passed over by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame three times.
But Wednesday night, that number wasn't the one that mattered. That wasn't the number that earned Nelson a standing ovation in a visiting arena. It wasn't the number that had his wife, daughter and grandkids posing on the court for pictures.
Fans held up several homemade banners. The biggest was white and took a couple people to hold, and had a large number painted on it, apparently by a kid.
One thousand, three hundred, thirty-three.
"It's just such a neat feeling," Nelson said. "This is probably why we end up coaching, for moments like this."
Notes: Turiaf returned to the lineup but was still sick. He missed Tuesday's game with the flu. Wednesday, he was visibly winded and coughing on the court. "It was tough," he said. "My temperature is down, but I can't breathe and I have no energy." ... Warriors guard Monta Ellis missed his sixth consecutive game with the flu. He is still listed as day-to-day. ... Guard C.J. Watson sat out with sore ribs. He is still in pain, though his breathing is better. He is uncertain about his status for Saturday at the Los Angeles Clippers.
1. Don Nelson 1,333
2. Lenny Wilkens 1,332
3. Pat Riley 1,210
4. Jerry Sloan 1,188
5. Phil Jackson 1,095
Clippers, 7:30 p.m.