OAKLAND -- The Warriors on Sunday night impressively dispelled any notion that they would actually lose two in a row for the first time this season.
No chance. In their first outing since the Boston Celtics ended their 54-game record home winning streak, the Warriors looked a lot more like the top-drawer Warriors. Stephen Curry put on a 39-point shooting show, Draymond Green delivered a triple-double gem, and the bench came up large with 42 points in a 136-111 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers at Oracle Arena.
The Warriors, now 69-8 with five games regular-season games remaining, clearly were in the mood for a statement performance after looking sloppy and lackluster in Friday's loss to the Celtics. Everybody came to play, and even though the Blazers got 38 points from Oakland native Damian Lillard and jumped to an early 11-point lead, Golden State was full throttle throughout and ultimately turned the game into a lopsided affair. Their 136 points were a season high.
"That's what we're all about -- our resiliency," said Curry, who hit 13 of 21 shots including 9 for 13 from beyond the 3-point arc. "We said before the game that we can't lose focus of our goal for the season. Obviously, we're chasing something, but we take pride in not having lost two in a row."
No NBA team has ever gone through a season without losing two straight. They're within reach of that (as are the San Antonio Spurs), and also still have a shot at tying or breaking the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls' record for the best regular-season mark -- 72-10.
Wherever the Warriors finish record-wise, coach Steve Kerr understands just how remarkable it will be, considering that every opponent that faces his team this year comes stoked to get an upset. To be sure, this latest game had a playoff atmosphere, but how many games home or away don't?
"Honestly, I think every game feels like that this year, especially the last month or six weeks," Kerr said. "(Other teams) want to knock us off. We should be well prepared for the playoffs, because we are getting great competition night in and night out."
Green seconded that notion after recording his 13th triple-double -- 22 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists -- and also getting three blocked shots and two steals.
"You kind of get used to that intensity as opposed to having to warm up for it to be who we are," he said.
Along with the intensity, the Warriors also regained their focus and execution skills. They trimmed their turnover total to 12 after committing 22 against Boston. They moved the ball and logged 30 assists, and they are 39-1 this season when they have 30 or more.
Their MVP also played like an MVP. Save a couple of foolish passes that at one point prompted Kerr to call a timeout to issue a harsh reminder about taking care of the ball, Curry was brilliant. His nine 3-pointers put him at 378 for the year, well within range of a once unthinkable 400.
As good as Lillard was, Curry was better. Midway in the third quarter, he scored 14 points in just a minute and 54 seconds with a step-back jumper and four consecutive 3s. The Blazers managed to stay within striking distance, largely because Lillard scored 12 during roughly the same stretch, but over the final 2:44 of the third period, Golden State bumped a five-point lead to 14 with a 12-3 run behind Green and Leandro Barbosa, the latter of whom led the hefty bench scoring with 13.
"The bench played well," said Kerr. "I thought the bench, in the beginning of the second quarter, really changed the game defensively for us."
Another noteworthy development for the Warriors was the return of center Festus Ezeli, who had missed 31 games because of left knee surgery. Ezeli started the game and played nine minutes, scoring two points with three rebounds. Less than three minutes in, he received a lob from Green for a dunk.
"We developed that chemistry this year," said Ezeli. "He got me started, it was kind of my, 'Welcome back Festus' moment. It felt good."