The Golden State Warriors responded with authority on Friday after losing to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers the night before.
Klay Thompson scored 25 points, Stephen Curry had 22 points, five assists and two steals, and the Warriors annihilated the Atlantic Division-leading Toronto Raptors 113-89 at the Air Canada Centre. Draymond Green added 17 points, nine rebounds and three blocks.
“Our team has done a good job all year of responding to losses,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “Not just losses, but lackluster play. We know there are going to be games where that happens because it’s the NBA and it’s a grind. The good teams don’t allow that to happen multiple times in a row. I think we were just responding to a disappointing night last night and disappointing four, five games defensively.”
The Warriors shot 48.3 percent from the field, 46.4 percent from three-point range and 84.2 percent from the free-throw line. They improved their NBA-best record to 45-11 on the season and lead the Western Conference by 4.5 games over the Memphis Grizzlies.
Terrence Ross led Toronto (37-21) with 18 points. DeMar DeRozan scored 14 points. Jonas Valanciunas added 12 rebounds. The Raptors have lost four straight and fell nine games behind the Atlanta Hawks for the top record in the East. They still have a 13-game division lead over the Boston Celtics.
The contest between two of the top teams in the league was over early. Golden State jumped out to 22-5 lead and never looked back. The Warriors shot just 34.8 percent in the first quarter, but made five 3-pointers and their defense held Toronto to 11 points on just 1-of-19 (.053) shooting.
“It was very satisfying to come out and play the way we did on a back-to-back, coming off a national TV game against LeBron and all that stuff,” Kerr said. “So it was an important effort to come out the way we did.”
The Warriors punctuated the victory with a 44-point third quarter on 18-of-22 (.818) shooting. The Splash Brother combined for 22 points on 8-of-10 shooting, including 5-of-6 from beyond the arc.
Things finally heated up late in the third quarter. After Shaun Livingston made a basket that pushed the Warriors lead to 41, Festus Ezeli shoved Tyler Hansbrough in the face. Hansbrough charged after Ezeli before both teams stepped in to separate the two. Both players were ejected.
Notes: Golden State improved to 21-9 on the road. It marks the first time in franchise history the Warriors have had back-to-back winning seasons on the road. The Splash Brothers each scored 20 points in the same game for the 63rd time. Toronto becomes the second team this season with just one field goal in a quarter. The Denver Nuggets also made just one against the New York Knicks on Nov. 16. The Warriors’ reserves outscored the Toronto starters 38-33.
Upcoming: The Warriors continue their six-game road trip on Sunday in Boston. The Celtics are 23-33 and in a three-way tie for ninth in the Eastern Conference.