OAKLAND -- Stephen Curry said this game was going to be meaningful, and Curry does not say these things casually or accidentally.
The NBA's best player wanted to see the Warriors raise their level of play on Sunday against Portland, just in time to set up a nice little run to finish this epic regular season.
Curry wanted to clean up the mistakes they made in their stunning, headline-making loss to Boston on Friday, no doubt.
And Curry also suggested it was time for the Warriors to start their early-April test drive for the playoff challenges to come.
So what happened? The Warriors wavered a bit early, but then their engine started to roar and they blew away the Trail Blazers, 136-111, to start a new winning streak at Oracle Arena.
Curry and his teammates set this up as a good marker and big situation at the tail end of a long season, and, as always, the Warriors met the moment.
"Definitely a big opportunity for us to bounce back after a tough loss at home," Curry said after pouring in 39 points on Sunday. "(Friday was the) first time we felt defeat at home.
"Think we answered that challenge pretty well."
On pace for record
As coach Steve Kerr said, it's not like the Warriors need to remind themselves that, now at 69-8, they're essentially playing pre-playoff games every night out against teams extremely motivated to beat them.
They're still on pace to break the record for most victories in an NBA season, of course, now needing to go 4-1 to get to that magic 73-9 finish.
But after the struggles in their loss to the Celtics, which ended the Warriors' hopes for an undefeated home season, this team was determined to reset their energies and motivations starting Sunday specifically.
It was a playoff test-drive, with some playoff nerves to start, with playoff energy in the building, playoff energy from the Warriors players, playoff-level intensity from Draymond Green and many others.
Also, it was the renewal of that most precious Warriors commodity: playoff-level Curry.
Curry said he wanted to see the Warriors play better on Sunday and, no shock, Curry was the best player on the floor for the entire game.
He made nine of his 13 three-point attempts, went toe-to-toe with Oakland's Damian Lillard in a scintillating third-quarter duel and happily watched his teammates charge forward alongside him.
After a few wobbly performances the last handful of games, culminating in the Boston loss, the Warriors were back to being the Warriors again.
You could say Curry had that look in his eyes on Sunday, but he had that look starting in the locker room on late Friday night.
It wasn't sadness or panic, though; it was just classic, steely Curry resolve.
"If we're getting depressed over a loss, an eighth loss at this point of the season ... that negative energy of just over-analyzing situations or even kind of mild panic is not necessary right now," Curry said.
"We've got a pretty good focus as a unit of how we can bounce back from losses and just stay true to who we are."
The Warriors want to close this season without obsessing over 73 victories or 72 or wherever they end up.
Kerr has said maybe the last few weeks bogged them down mentally, just by thinking and talking about chasing down the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls' record of 72 victories.
Getting 'locked in'
Kerr said he just wants the Warriors to think about playing well ... but he also acknowledges that playing well means the Warriors will break the record.
Semantics? Yes, but it's the way the Warriors think and play through the panorama of possibilities laid out before them this spring and summer.
"It was a good game and a win," Kerr said. "It's good when we can do both of those things.
"We took care of the ball -- 13 turnovers is a good number. Thirty assists -- that's a great number, we were really moving the ball well.
"When everybody plays well, you're locked in, it's a good game. This was a good night for us."
Yes, the Warriors still have some work to do, largely involving settling into their playoff rotation.
On Sunday, the Warriors got center Festus Ezeli back from injury but didn't have Andrew Bogut. They're still waiting on Andre Iguodala, who could be back soon.
"We've done a lot of good things this year piece-mealing rotations together with guys being out for extended periods of time," Curry said.
"So hopefully as this season ends we have maybe one or two games with a full roster to see what the rotations are going to be like and the flow and expectations as we go into the playoffs."
Everything has been meaningful for the Warriors this season, from Game 1 on, and they've brought themselves to the brink of history.
But they underlined Sunday's game -- the Warriors haven't lost two in a row all season and could be the first team in NBA history to do that (along with the Spurs this season).
Curry underlined this game, and when he does something like that, you know the Warriors are getting themselves ready for special things.