The billing was big, massive and maybe even colossal. And though the aesthetics weren't always pleasing, the competitive aspect of the game was even better.
The Warriors rolled into Philips Arena in Atlanta atop the Western Conference, claiming the NBA's best defense and best record. They walked out realizing none of those things mattered against the Hawks.
The Warriors took a 124-116 loss partly because they committed a few too many turnovers (14) but mostly because their defense was shredded by an array of Hawks.
What the Warriors (39-9) experienced in the most anticipated game of this NBA season was an Atlanta offense that was surgical in its precision and deadly in its accuracy – particularly in the second half.
The Hawks (42-9) shot an astonishing 70.6 percent in the third quarter – including a crucial 7-0 burst – when they overtook the Warriors, who led for most of the first half, at one point up by eight.
Atlanta, which entered the game with the best record in the Eastern Conference, shot 55.6 percent (15-of-27) on 3-pointers.
Four Warriors scored in double figures, led Klay Thompson's game-high 29 points. Stephen Curry finished with 26, while Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes each added 12.
Seven Hawks scored in double figures, with point guard Jeff Teague's 23 points leading the way. The Atlanta bench was superb, as Mike Scott finished with 17 points (including 3-of-3 beyond the arc) and ex-Warriors Kent Bazemore had 11.
Thompson and Green did more than any of their teammates to keep the Warriors in this one.
Thompson was hot from the start, scoring 7 points in the first 4:29. He finished with 11-of-20 shooting, along with five assists and four rebounds.
Green was a beast on the glass, at times dealing with two or three Hawks in the paint and still pulling a game-high 20 rebounds. His shot was missing, but he was the reason the Warriors managed a 51-38 advantage on the glass.
With the Warriors leading 50-47 inside the final minute of the second quarter, the Hawks went on a 14-4 run to end the first half and open the second, taking a 61-54 lead with 9:42 left in the third quarter.
Though the Warriors came back to force several ties, they never again took a lead and were down by as much as 11.
The Warriors listed no injuries.
The Warriors left Atlanta immediately after the game for New York, where on Saturday they will face the Knicks at Madison Square Garden.