ATLANTA -- Golden State made history Saturday night with a 115-93 victory over the Atlanta Hawks. The Warriors finished their road trip 6-1, marking the first time in franchise history they have won six games on a trip.
"I think it does wonders for our confidence," guard Jarrett Jack said. "It makes us battle tested. None of these teams gave us any of these games. We had to come out here and work for each and every game as soon as we stepped between the lines."
Anyone associated with the Warriors would have been happy with a 4-3 trip. Golden State's five wins on the trip entering Saturday was only the fourth time that had been done in team history.
But the Warriors (16-8) emphatically declared they wanted more. They beat the Hawks in convincing fashion, an exclamation point to a trip that produced quality wins over Brooklyn, Miami and Atlanta (combined 41-21 records entering Saturday).
"I'm tired, so I know they're tired," coach Mark Jackson said after the win. "Physically beat up and ready to get home. But that's no excuse: 6-1 sounds much better than 5-2. It's important for us because the good teams make sure they finish the course. I'm proud of my guys once again."
The Warriors proved Friday's loss at Orlando was much more a hiccup than a drift back to reality. They returned to their scrappy, rebounding, sharpshooting selves Saturday against an Atlanta team that had won 11 of 13.
"Confidence isn't a problem with this team," forward David Lee said after totaling 20 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and three steals. "At the same time, we also know we can lose to anybody. So this team stays humble and keeps working hard. ... We're going to keep battling."
Golden State limited the Hawks to 36.9 percent shooting, the lowest percentage by any Warriors opponent this season. Atlanta star forward Josh Smith totaled three points on 1-of-12 shooting in 24 minutes.
The Warriors outrebounded the Hawks 54-45, led by Lee's 11. It was the fifth time this season Golden State has grabbed 50 rebounds or more.
And, most noticeably, the Warriors were again making shots. They were shooting at a 50 percent clip before Jackson cleared the bench. Golden State finished at 49.5 percent shooting while posting a season-high in points and assists (32). And that was with point guard Stephen Curry having a rough night offensively: 18 points on 6-of-20 shooting.
"That Golden State team was a very talented team," Hawks coach Larry Drew said. "They're fast. They're quick. They have guys that can make shots. They're good passers. They beat us in every phase."
The Warriors looked like a completely different team Saturday -- especially in the second quarter -- from the one that lost Friday in Orlando.
The score was tied at 26 after the first quarter. But the Warriors took control of the game by piecing together a 16-5 run, powered by rookie forward Harrison Barnes.
He started the spurt with consecutive 3-pointers, the latter putting Golden State ahead 32-28. Realizing Barnes was feeling it, the Warriors started feeding him. On consecutive possessions minutes later, Barnes knocked down jumpers off isolations. A Lee jumper with 6:29 left put the Warriors ahead 42-31, prompting an Atlanta timeout.
Now firing on all cylinders, the Warriors went on to post 36 points on 56 percent shooting in the second quarter. Of their 14 baskets in the quarter, 11 were assisted (seven by Curry). Their 62 first-half points was a season-high and they led by 13 heading into the locker room.
They put the game away in the third quarter, pushing the lead as high as 24. Finally, at the end of the season's most-grueling trip, Jackson was able to clear his bench and rest his starters.
The Warriors come home eight games over .500. Their next four games are against teams with losing records, three at home (one against the Los Angeles Lakers). Golden State is in prime position to solidify its status among the best in the Western Conference.
"Having a 6-1 road trip is big for us," said Curry, who finished with 18 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds. "We played so well the first five games, and then didn't show up last night in Orlando. So to come out on the road, on a back-to-back set, when you're tired, and to play this well, it's big for us. Now we can look forward to getting home and playing in front of our own fans."
Ezeli banged his right knee in Friday's loss in Orlando and did not return. He said he tried to give it a go Saturday, but pregame warm-ups revealed he wasn't ready. Ezeli said he will have his knee checked out when the team returns home. He said he doesn't expect to be out long. Biedrins had seven rebounds and a block in 14 minutes.
Warriors' trips of 7 or more games during West coast era
(Does not count trips that included neutral sites)