OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Forced to go small, the Golden State Warriors keep coming up big.
East or West, they are the best team in the NBA right now — and they want everyone to know it.
Stephen Curry had 32 points and 12 assists, Draymond Green got his first career triple-double and the Warriors rolled past the Toronto Raptors 126-105 on Friday night in a matchup of conference leaders.
“One thing we always say when we’re playing against a team like this is, ‘This is a team we could possibly play later on in the year,'” Green said. “Try to make a statement.”
Did they ever.
Green finished with 16 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds, and three others scored in double digits to help the NBA-best Warriors (26-5) wear down the Raptors (24-9) in the second half. Golden State started the third quarter on a 23-5 run and thwarted the Raptors’ brief rally with contributions from all over.
“I went in the locker room and just told them, ‘I don’t have much to say other than wow,'” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.
Toronto’s loss allowed Atlanta to move into first in the East.
Greivis Vasquez scored 25 points, and Kyle Lowry had 22 points and eight assists for the Raptors, who lost consecutive road games for the first time this season. Toronto fell to 2-3 on its six-game trip, which ends at Phoenix on Sunday.
Golden State kept up its blistering pace without a true center as Andrew Bogut (right knee) and backup Festus Ezeli (left ankle) continue to recover from nagging injuries.
Kerr mixed and matched smaller lineups — using Green and Marreese Speights down low and sometimes nothing but forwards on the floor — to push the pace and maximize his team’s versatility.
The Warriors outshot Toronto 53.3 percent to 46.5 percent. They also tied a season-low with nine turnovers, while the Raptors had 17.
“That’s a well-oiled machine. Their small lineup is one of the best in the league,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said.
The Warriors went 5 for 6 from 3-point range in the first quarter to take a 40-31 lead. It was the most points Golden State has scored and the most the Raptors have allowed in the first quarter this season.
Even with the Warriors putting on an offensive spectacle, Toronto didn’t go away easily.
Lowry overcame early foul trouble and Vasquez hit four 3s in the first half to help the Raptors regroup from a 14-point deficit. Golden State led just 66-61 at intermission.
“When we feel threated,” Speights said, “we always play better.”
Just as they have so often during the best start in franchise history, the Warriors leaned on their defense and their leading man to pull away behind one big burst.
Curry capped the spurt by throwing down a hard dunk as Lowry tried to block him from behind. Curry screamed as Lowry tried to inbound the ball and the announced sellout crowd of 19,596 roared to its feet — along with several teammates.
“I couldn’t stop screaming when he did that either,” Green said.
The Raptors, playing without All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan (torn muscle in left groin) for the 16th straight game, closed to 110-101 before Curry finished with a flurry — scoring 10 points in a three-minute span.
The Warriors also got key contributions from Speights (26 points and eight rebounds), Klay Thompson (20 points), David Lee (12 points and seven rebounds) and Justin Holiday (nine points).
“Their small ball really got to us,” Lowry said. “I think they kind of just went up and down a little bit too fast at a pace we didn’t really want.”
Raptors: Toronto has lost 10 in a row at Golden State, a skid that dates to February 2004. … The Raptors are 11-6 since DeRozan’s injury. … Landry Fields started at small forward after missing the last five games recovering from a concussion. He had two points and three rebounds.
Warriors: Golden State has won 11 straight home games and is 13-1 at Oracle Arena this season. … The Warriors are 10-0 against the Eastern Conference.
SHARING THE ROCK
The Warriors had 35 assists, the league-most 11th time they’ve had at least 30. It also was the first time the Warriors had at least 35 assists in consecutive games since April 1994.
Raptors: At Phoenix on Sunday.
Warriors: Host Oklahoma City on Monday.
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