The Warriors are back on top of the Western Conference, thin air notwithstanding.
Looking like the champions they are, the Warriors sprinted into Pepsi Center in Denver on Tuesday and laid a 142-111 annihilation on the Nuggets.
It was the fifth consecutive win by the Warriors (30-14), the first time since early November they have had such a run of success.
Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant combined for 89 points on 65.3 shooting, Kevon Looney snagged a career-high 12 rebounds and Draymond Green posted a team-best plus-41 in his 31 minutes of work.
In taking their first home loss in more than two months, Denver (29-14) dropped behind the Warriors and into second place in the conference.
Here are three takeaways from the Warriors’ most impressive game of the season:
So ... any questions?
From being on the blunt end of blowouts at home, to the mediocre defensive numbers, to the general team chemistry, there have been legitimate concerns about the Warriors this season.
Consider those concerns incinerated.
The Warriors opened this game with playoff intensity, and with such extraordinary offense that the defense barely mattered. They built a 10-point lead in less than four minutes and a 20-point lead early in the second quarter. They had 22 assists and two turnovers in the first half and finished with 38 and 10, respectively.
When the Warriors really want to show what they’re about, this is what they do. This was a reminder -- for themselves and the rest of the NBA -- of the damage they do when fully engaged.
Denver entered the game with the best 3-point shot defense in the NBA, limiting opponents to 33.2-percent shooting from beyond the arc.
So when the Warriors drained 10 3-pointers in only 14 attempts in the first quarter, the Nuggets had to be shocked. They also had to have an inkling of what was in store.
By the time Draymond Green hit a 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter, it was abundantly clear the Nuggets would be buried under a pile of triples.
The 3-balls kept dropping and dropping at an absurdly efficient rate. Curry scored 31 points on 8-of-13 shooting from deep, Durant totaled 27 and was 5-of-7 from deep, while Thompson was 5-of-8 from beyond the arc in finishing with 31 points.
The Warriors finished 21-of-39 (53.8 percent) from deep.
Joke was on “The Joker"
Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic -- AKA The Joker -- leads the team in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals. The 7-footer was coming off a game in which he scored 40 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and recorded eight assists.
He’s in the MVP conversation.
The Warriors went after him early, made him defend and wore him out.
Jokic totaled 17 points, eight assists, four rebounds and three turnovers. He was minus-21 in 23 minutes.
What happened to his offense? The Warriors played him straight-up, mostly with Looney, but sent another player whenever he was in the paint. There was not one minute during which Jokic looked comfortable on offense.
When you contain -- practically silence -- the opponent’s best player, victory tends to be a given.