DENVER — Who’s counting? The Warriors certainly are. The wins are piling up, and they’re moving closer to NBA history.
But they’re focused not so much on a number as winning in general.
Klay Thompson scored 21 points and the Warriors tied the best start in league history, beating the Denver Nuggets 118-105 on Sunday night to move to 15-0.
Golden State matches the start of the 1948-49 Washington Capitols and the ‘93-94 Houston Rockets. The Warriors can break the record Tuesday night at home against the Los Angeles Lakers.
“It’s kind of a quiet confidence that we don’t feel like we’re going to lose anytime soon,” Stephen Curry said. “The way we’re playing … we can get even better.”
That’s a scary thought for a Warriors team that just surpassed the ‘57-58 Boston Celtics for the best start by a defending champion.
“It’s a huge accomplishment,” Curry said of their blistering start. “Obviously, coming off a championship and taking care of business 15 straight times to start the season – couldn’t ask for a better start.”
As good as it gets right there – until Tuesday anyway.
“It would be a cool milestone,” Thompson said. “Shows how special this team can be.”
The Nuggets saw just how special the Warriors can be first hand. They hit 15 of 29 3-pointers. They dished out 35 assists. They played suffocating defense. They even turned the ball over – 21 times, to interim coach Luke Walton’s chagrin – but it didn’t seem to hurt them.
“They’re the best team in the world. It’s a difficult task,” said Nikola Jokic, who had 11 points and 11 rebounds. “In some parts of the game we could defend them and in other parts no. I mean they just need 3, 4 minutes and they’re up by 15 so we need to play defense all the time.”
Thompson hit a 3-pointer with 2:08 remaining in the second quarter and Golden State never trailed again. The reserves built up a sizeable lead and allowed Curry to rest the entire fourth quarter. He had 19 points, the first time this season he didn’t reach 20.
Darrell Arthur had 21 points for the Nuggets, who’ve lost three straight. Kenneth Faried was sidelined by a sprained left ankle.
Harrison Barnes scored seven of his 17 points in the third quarter to allow the Warriors to gain some separation. This was the way things went for the Warriors in the third: Festus Ezeli missed a wide-open dunk and it clanged straight to Curry, who drained a 3-pointer.
When the Warriors played in Denver last March, they rested Curry & Co. That didn’t sit well with fans who were expecting to see the sharp-shooting guard.
Resting wasn’t an option this time. Not so close to an NBA record.
“Whether or not we get it, it really doesn’t affect our ultimate goal of trying to win a championship,” said Walton, who picked up a technical in the third quarter. “It would be something nice to get along the way.”
Walton said head coach Steve Kerr (back surgery) is “doing better.” Said Walton: “He gets really sick of being asked that question. So I’ve stopped asking it.”