OAKLAND – In defense of their NBA championship, the Warriors opened the regular season with a singular goal, which was earning the No.1 seed entering the playoffs.
Done, in perhaps the most emphatic way that could be imagined.
The Warriors’ 112-101 scorching of San Antonio on Thursday night assures them of having the best record in the league this season. Running their record to 70-9, they also became only the second team to win 70 games in a season.
Four Warriors scored in double figures, led by Stephen Curry, who totaled 27 points. Harrison Barnes tossed in 21, Draymond Green had 18 and Klay Thompson added 14 as the Warriors remained in contention to win a record 73 games.
The Spurs (65-13) have been the only team close to breathing the same rarified air as the Warriors this season. Moreover, they are considered the biggest threat to a back-to-back championship.
Yet the Warriors this season have beaten them twice by double digits at Oracle Arena, the first a 120-90 rout on Jan. 25.
Though the Warriors continued their recent bad habit of committing costly turnovers (16, leading to 26 San Antonio points), they offset that with 12-of-25 3-point shooting and a 43-32 rebounding advantage.
Kawhi Leonard scored 23 points to lead the Spurs, who played all of their regulars.
All five starters played well, with Green, Barnes and Curry leading the way.
Green’s line: 18 points (7-of-12 from the field, 2-of-3 beyond the arc), seven assists, six rebounds assists and a steal. He played 34 minutes and was plus-17 for the game.
Barnes’ line: season-high-tying 21 points (8-of-13, 3-of-7) and eight rebounds. He played 33 minutes and was plus-10.
Curry’s line: 27 points (11-of-19, 3-of-7), nine assists, five rebounds and two steals. He played 37 minutes, finishing plus-14.
After a Tim Duncan basket tied the game at 15-15 with 2:03 left in the first quarter, the Warriors reeled off a 14-0 run spanning the end of the first quarter and beginning of the second taking a 29-15 lead with 9:38 left in the half.
The Warriors held San Antonio to 0-of-8 shooting during the stretch, while also forcing a turnover.
The Spurs got as close as six (46-40, 59.9 seconds left in the second quarter) before the Warriors pulled away in the second half. San Antonio never got within single digits after halftime.
Warriors: F Kevon Looney (R hip inflammation) was listed as out. F James Michael McAdoo was a healthy inactive.
Spurs: F Boris Diaw (R adductor soreness) was listed as out. C Boban Marjanovic was a healthy inactive.
The Warriors return to action Saturday, when they face the Grizzlies at FedEx Forum in Memphis. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:10 p.m. PDT.