OAKLAND -- Maybe the Mayans didn't get it wrong.
The Warriors and the Los Angeles Clippers are two of the best teams in the NBA. Perhaps the world, as we knew it, did end.
"This is a new day," said guard Jamal Crawford, a former Warrior who has been a catalyst for the Clippers' dominance.
"It's a new age, a new era. We don't care about our poor history or whatever, and I'm sure they don't either. We're flipping the script."
Two of the worst franchises, historically, are now running with the elite. The Warriors (21-10) are off to their best start in 21 years. The Clippers (25-7) had won 17 in a row before losing Tuesday night at Denver. Still, they are off to their best start since ... ever.
The teams meet Wednesday at Oracle Arena, and you would have to go back to the 1991-92 season to find the last time both teams were at least 10 games over .500 when they faced each other.
On April 17, 1992, the 81st game of the season, the teams played in Oakland. Tim Hardaway, Chris Mullin, Billy Owens and company were 26 games above .500 and locking up the No. 3 seed in the West. The Clippers -- led by Ron Harper and Danny Manning, with Doc Rivers coming off the bench -- were 10 games over .500 and on their way to the No. 7 seed.
Since that season, the teams have finished above .500 five times and made six playoff appearances. Combined.
"We're trying to change that," Warriors point guard Stephen Curry said. "Obviously the Clippers have their own story, and we're trying to make ours. It's a good feeling. Hopefully it will breed some good games between us."
There is ample reason to believe the Warriors and Clippers won't be going anywhere.
Golden State is 11 games over .500 despite playing most of the season without two key players.
Starting center Andrew Bogut has played four games this season. He shut it down Nov. 8 to rehabilitate his surgically repaired left ankle and has yet to return. Swingman Brandon Rush, a key reserve, suffered a torn left ACL and MCL the second game of the season.
But in a drastic transformation, the Warriors have found success by being gritty and tough. They still shoot a bunch of 3s and push the tempo. But their success has been because of their defense and rebounding, which has people around the league believing the Warriors are for real.
"Sure. Absolutely," Philadelphia coach Doug Collins said. "Do they rebound? Yes. Top five opponents' field goal percentage? Yes. Top 10 defending the 3? Yes. Can they score the ball? Yes. So, do they have staying power? Yes."
Golden State entered Tuesday tied for fourth in the NBA in field-goal percentage defense, holding opponents to 42.9 percent shooting, and third in rebound differential, outrebounding opponents on average by 4.2.
The Clippers? They are third in field-goal percentage defense (42.7) and fourth in points allowed (92.3).
Of course, the Clippers have big-time stars, highlighted by All-NBA point guard Chris Paul and forward Blake Griffin. But Los Angeles has proven players filling pivotal roles throughout its lineup: Crawford, guard Eric Bledsoe and forwards Matt Barnes and Caron Butler.
"To put together win streaks that are long, it shows a lot of focus," Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant told ESPN about the Clippers. "If you're going to have a winning streak that's that extensive, you have to have guys coming in from all aspects of the game."
The Warriors and Clippers have endured years of ridicule as NBA doormats. Even Golden State guard Jarrett Jack, on his fifth team in eight years, said if you had told him three years ago the Warriors and Clippers would been among the best teams in the West, "I probably would've laughed, obviously."
Now, the joke is on the rest of the league. While the basketball world fixates on the struggles of the Lakers, the rise of the New York Knicks, and every breath LeBron James takes, the Clippers have amassed the second-best record in the NBA, and the Warriors are only 31/2 games behind.
And from the looks of things, they could become fixtures among the contenders.
"With them they have star power, so they're definitely going to stay," said Warriors coach Mark Jackson, who played two seasons for the Clippers during his 17-year career. "With us, we have a foundation. We're not going anywhere."
L.A. Clippers (25-7) at Warriors (21-10), 7:30 p.m., CSNBA