SAN FRANCISCO — The Warriors suited up only 10 players but got significant contributions from all of them as they beat the Trail Blazers to secure their best start to a season since their record-setting 2015-16 campaign.
At 17-2, after a 118-103 win Friday night against Portland — their sixth in a row and 10th straight by double digits at Chase Center — the Warriors have also matched their record from the first 19 games of their first title-winning team of 2014-15.
Steph Curry played the starring role with 32 points, eight assists and seven rebounds as Golden State maintained its title as the top team in the NBA, setting up a home-and-home next week with the team on its heels, the Phoenix Suns, who rattled off their 15th straight win Friday.
“Our guys are enjoying every bit of it,” coach Steve Kerr said afterward. “You’ve gotta enjoy it, especially with what we’ve been through the past couple years.”
Here are some quick takeaways from the Warriors’ win Friday night.
DAME VS. STEPH
An Oakland native, Damian Lillard got to spend Thanksgiving with his family before taking on his hometown team the following night.
Lillard’s homecomings are almost always happy affairs, at least for his individual stat line. He had scored at least 30 points in six of his previous 14 visits to the Bay Area, including his past three games before Friday night.
But Friday was about Steph Curry.
The Warriors outscored Portland by 14 with their star on the floor, adding to a plus-minus ratio that is on pace to be the NBA’s best since 1996-97 (+253 entering Friday).
Curry went off for 32 points, while the Warriors limited Lillard to 16, tied for his quietest performance in 15 career games at Golden State.
“It’s a total team effort when you’re guarding someone like Dame,” said Draymond Green, after joking it was all him. “It’s not just the one guy that’s on him, that’s for sure. If you have the idea that you’re going to guard him with one guy, 50 points later, you’ll still be trying to figure it out.”
Curry did as much damage inside the paint as he did from beyond the arc, but it was a transition 3-ball that sparked the run that put the Warriors ahead for good.
While Curry rested during the middle of the second quarter, the Blazers mounted a 10-4 run to pull even at 42. But the Warriors unleashed once Curry returned and never lost the lead again.
The run started with Jordan Poole passing up his own shot in transition to hand it off to a trailing Curry for a quick-trigger bullseye.
Poole’s dump off echoed a similar play from a game earlier, which garnered praise from Curry and Kerr as a sign of growth in the young guard.
Poole finished with 14 points and five assists, and at plus-23, the best plus-minus on the team in 34 minutes.
MORE THAN CURRY
Curry was the primary catalyst, but the Warriors needed contributions from everyone in uniform, down four bench players to various injuries, personal reasons and G-League assignments.
All five Warriors starters finished in double figures, led by Curry’s 32 on 12-of-25 from the field.
His telepathy with Draymond Green was on full display with the Warriors’ mind-reader finishing with 12 assists, his second-highest assist total of the season, to go along with 12 points and eight rebounds for his second double-double.
“It’s so fun to watch,” Kerr said of the two-man game between Curry and Green. “Those two guys have been doing this for a decade now. And I think I said this recently, but they seem to just read each other’s thoughts. They just know how to play together.”
Kevon Looney also scored a season-high 12 points while hitting the offensive glass (seven rebounds; three offensive), and Andrew Wiggins finished with 25 points after scoring the Warriors’ first five of the game.
HOME COURT ADVANTAGE
With two postseason misses intermixed with a pandemic, the Warriors haven’t had much of a chance to put an imprint on Chase Center.
By no means is it Oracle Arena, but it’s worth noting the Warriors’ hot start at home this season.
They’ve won their past 10 games at Chase Center, all by 10 points or more.
“It’s always fun to play at home, especially when you’ve got fans like the ones that we’ve got. They bring the energy every night. We’ve got a fun team, bringing a bunch of energy. Guys are cheering for each other,” said Juan Toscano-Anderson. “I think it’s something special, and I definitely don’t think it’s something we shouldn’t take for granted.”
The mark of a good NBA team, according to Kerr, is to dominate the home court and steal at least half on the road.
Golden State went 39-2 in back-to-back seasons at Oracle Arena while they won two NBA championships.
At 10-1 at Chase Center (and 7-1 away from home), so far, so good this season.