The freak train that is the Golden State Warriors kept on rolling Friday night at Oracle Arena.
Stephen Curry scored 34 points and the NBA champions remained undefeated with a 119-104 victory over the Denver Nuggets. Curry shot 8-of-16 from 3-point range and is now 36-of-70 from beyond the arc this season. The reigning MVP added 10 assists, seven rebounds and three steals.
All five starters scored in double-figures for Golden State. Harrison Barnes had a season-high 21 points. Klay Thompson made four 3-pointers and finished with 18 points. Festus Ezeli scored a career-high 16 points on 7-of-7 shooting. Draymond Green added 12 points and was one rebound and two assists short of a triple-double. The starters combined to score 101 points on 58.2 percent shooting.
The Warriors are 6-0 for the second time in franchise history and extended their franchise-record home win streak to 22. The Warriors shot 49.5 percent from the field and recorded a season-high 40 assists on 46 field goals.
Danilo Gallinari led Denver (2-4) with a season-high 25 points. Will Barton scored a season-high 19 points, all in the second half. Gary Harris had 16 points. Rookie Emmanuel Mudiay finished with 13 points, five assists and four steals. Kenneth Faried added 11 rebounds. The Nuggets were doomed by shooting just 34.1 percent in the first half, including 25 percent in the second quarter.
The Warriors were firing on all cylinders at the start. They outscored Denver 40-23 in the opening quarter. It’s already the team’s third 40-point quarter of the season. Curry and Barnes combined to score 22 points. Green added four points, four rebounds and six assists. The Warriors finished with 14 assists on 16 field goals.
The exquisite ball movement continued in the second quarter and the lead ballooned to 30 points at halftime. All 14 field goals in the quarter were assisted. The unselfishness spread like wildfire through the entire team. Nine players scored and seven had at least one assist. The Warriors set a franchise record for assists in a half with 28.
“It was beautiful basketball,” Curry said. “We let our defense fuel our offense. We made the smart play. We knocked down shots and opened the game up.”
With a big lead at halftime, the only question was how long the starters would play for the rest of the game. The answer turned out to be almost to the end of the game.
A different Denver team showed up in the second half. The Nuggets put up 60 points and outscored the Warriors by 15. Barton, Harris and Jameer Nelson combined to score 40 points on 15-of-21 shooting. The Warriors committed 12 turnovers, which Denver converted into 16 points.
“We came out lackadaisical,” Curry told CSN Bay Area postgame. “It started with me turning the ball over and not running the offense. We’ll learn from that. When you have a big lead, you want to make it as easy as possible on yourself.”
The Nuggets never got closer than 10 points, but Warriors interim head coach Luke Walton elected to put the starters back in with 5:32 left in the game.
“They (Denver) came out and played a lot harder in the second half than we did,” Walton said. “They were cutting harder. We weren’t contesting shots the same way we were in the first half. They were able to fight and crawled all the way back into it.”
Highlight of the game: In the second quarter, Ezeli blocked Mudiay’s jumper. Green picked up the loose ball, drove to the front court and threw a perfect lob pass to Ezeli for a two-handed slam. Instead of blocking the ball into the stands, Ezeli kept the ball in play and the result was a perfect example of how solid defense leads to solid offense.
Notes: Curry’s 213 points in the first six games are the most since Michael Jordan’s 214 at the start of the 1989-90 season. Curry is the first player since Kobe Bryant (2009-10) to score at least 30 points in five of the season’s first six games and the first Warrior since Rick Barry (1974-75). The 40 assists are the most for the Warriors since they had 45 on April 1, 1994. With Toronto’s loss to Orlando earlier, the Warriors are the only undefeated team left.
On the road to 72
2015-16 Golden State Warriors 6-0
1996-97 Chicago Bulls 5-1