A season-high 25 points from Harrison Barnes and a rebounding masterclass from Australian big man Andrew Bogut helped Golden State win the battle of the NBA’s two best teams on Wednesday.
The Warriors routed the high-flying Atlanta Hawks 114-95 to prove their championship bona fides, the home side shaking off the injury absence of Klay Thompson and a so-so shooting night for Stephen Curry.
With their 10th straight home win, the Western Conference-leading Warriors maintained the best record in the NBA at 54-13 — narrowly ahead of Eastern Conference leaders Atlanta who fell to 53-15.
Despite connecting on just four of 11 shots from the floor, Curry still finished with 16 points and handed out 12 assists for Golden State.
In addition to his season-high 21 points, Andre Iguodal also handed out six assists.
Draymond Green added 18 points — draining five of his seven attempts from three-point range — and pulled down seven rebounds, while Bogut grabbed 14 rebounds.
Green paid credit to Bogut’s work.
“I think the defensive end is what got it done for us,” he said. “We were able to lock those guys down for the most part of the game.
“Once we got good on the defensive end, we were able to get out and run and we started knocking shots down and got it going.”
The victory came a day after Warriors head coach Steve Kerr announced Thompson would miss seven to 10 days with an ankle injury suffered on Monday against the Lakers.
DeMarre Carroll scored 16 points with 12 rebounds for the Hawks, but Atlanta centre Al Horford was held to eight points on 4-of-18 shooting.
Elsewhere, the Cleveland Cavaliers comfortably downed the Brooklyn Nets 117-92.
JR Smith and Timofey Mozgov netted 17 points apiece, LeBron James added 16 and the Cavs (44-26) routed the visiting Nets (27-39) for their 14th consecutive home-court victory.
The Chicago Bulls made light work of the Indiana Pacers with a 113-86 win.
Montenegrin rookie Nikola Mirotic scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half, Spaniard Pau Gasol had 19 with 12 rebounds and the Bulls (41-28) handed the visiting Pacers (30-37) their third straight loss following a seven-game success.
Other winners were: Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder, Dallas Mavericks, LA Clippers, San Antonio Spurs, Philadelphia 76ers, Toronto Raptors and Washington Wizards.