Taking advantage of a soft spot in the schedule Monday night, the Warriors rolled to a 129-98 romp over the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers.
Steph Curry scored a game-high 36 points, while Andrew Wiggins totaled 15 points, Kelly Oubre Jr. tossed in 14 and Juan Toscano-Anderson 13 as Golden State improved to 15-13 overall and 10-6 at Chase Center.
A terrific second quarter allowed the Warriors to take a 10-point halftime lead, which grew to as much as 23 in the third quarter as they took command.
Here are three takeaways from a game that sent the Cavaliers (10-19) to their eighth consecutive loss.
Another splashy night for Steph
After a very good first six weeks of the season, Curry has upgraded to fabulous in February and there is no indication of significant slowdown.
His 36 points came on 13-of-19 shooting from the field, including 7-of-11 from distance. Curry added six assists and was plus-20 in 30 minutes.
In eight games this month, Curry is averaging 36.3 points, shooting 57.0 percent overall and 47.8 percent beyond the arc. The last time he shot below 50 percent in a game was Jan. 27 in a 123-111 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, and he has shot below 40 percent from deep only once over that span.
These are the kind of numbers that can keep a player in the MVP conversation without being on an elite team.
The irrepressible Mr. Green
It’s not a coincidence that Curry’s superb month comes at a time when Draymond Green is at his play-making best. The latest example came Monday night, when Green recorded a career-high-tying 16 assists.
He is torching teams with his pick-and-roll decision-making, particularly with Curry. Beyond that, Green’s passing seems to have a profound effect on the movement by all of his teammates. Oubre is cutting. Wiggins is cutting. So are Kent Bazemore and Toscano-Anderson.
All of this is the result of recognizing Green’s court vision and desire to pass his team to easy baskets.
Green is averaging 11.7 assists per game this month and has had 15 or more on three occasions.
Return of the defense
After a one-game hiatus against a the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday, the Warriors returned to their stingy best on defense against the Cavs, who shot 38.9 percent from the field.
The defensive intensity was especially evident in the second quarter, when the Warriors limited the Cavaliers to 22 points on 28.6 percent shooting, including 25.0 percent beyond the arc. The Warriors forced seven turnovers and generally found ways to trigger a transition game that was behind their 52.2 percent shooting.
After being outscored 22-14 in the paint in the first quarter against the bigger Cavs, the Warriors came back in the second to post a 16-8 advantage.
The Warriors have spent the past five weeks steadily moving up the NBA’s defensive ranks. This game was more representative of the defense they’ve played since Green entered the lineup in January.