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They're no longer the Warriors. They're the Road Warriors, officially and undeniably, riding into towns and achieving victory by any means necessary.
They're winning on sheer talent one night, ingenuity the next, resiliency the game after that. When all else fails, they rely on defense to dig a tunnel to triumph.
On Sunday in New Orleans, the Warriors were on the cusp of defeat, down 8 with four minutes left. The Pelicans were rolling, the Smoothie King Center rocking. And then, in a blink, the Warriors tightened up the "D" and bagged their 16th in a row, a 128-122 overtime conquest that served as a testament to their determination.
[INSTANT REPLAY: Warriors beat Pelicans in OT for 16th straight win]
"We have to defend in order to give ourselves a chance," said point guard Stephen Curry, who finished with 34 points, including 8 in overtime. "Our depth really wears on teams as we go through the game. And it showed in the fourth quarter."
Trailing 107-99 with 4:16 left in regulation, the Warriors (21-2) proceeded to spin a web of despair around the Pelicans. Over the final four minutes and the five-minute OT, the New Orleans shot 21 percent (4-of-19) and committed three turnovers.
The Pelicans (11-12) during the previous 44 minutes shot 52.4 percent and committed 10 turnovers. Despite being a .500 team, they had been superior.
"Generally speaking, if we defend and take care of the ball we have a chance. We didn't do either one tonight. We turned it over and we didn't guard," coach Steve Kerr said.
"But thankfully we have really, really talented players. And we have an incredibly strong competitive desire to win. That was important tonight."
The comeback was powered mostly by Curry's offense and the pit-bull defense of forward Draymond Green. During those decisive nine minutes in the fourth quarter and OT, when the Warriors outscored the Pelicans 29-15, Curry had 12 points. Green had four rebounds, three blocked shots and a steal.
"That's our moment," said Green. "Once we got to overtime, the pressure was on them. They had everything going for them. That pressure turned to them in overtime, and it showed."
The Warriors locked down and came up with their 10th consecutive road win, pushing their overall road record to 13-1 this season.
The last team to start 13-1 on the road, the 2009-10 Celtics, reached the NBA Finals. The last team to start 21-2, the 2008-09 Celtics, was bounced in the second round of the playoffs.
Not that any of that matters to these Warriors, who were relieved to sweep back-to-back road games – they won at Dallas on Saturday – and fly out of the Big Easy with another win and keeping alive their win streaks.
"Mentally, it's always tougher to get up for those types of games," backup guard Shaun Livingston said. "You're just going to have to create energy for (yourselves.)"
That's what elite teams do. That's what the Warriors have been doing, consistently, for the past five weeks, home and away, no matter what team they're facing.
The Warriors' defense late in the fourth quarter and in OT was something to behold, utterly stifling when it absolutely had to be.
Green was comprehensively effective: 11 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and four blocked shots. He was particularly good in the deciding moments.
Andre Iguodala had by far his finest offensive game this month: season-high 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting, including 3-of-4 beyond the arc – his first treys this month.
Curry's 34 points were augmented by seven assists, seven rebounds and a steal.
Klay Thompson finished with 29 points – and a career-high-tying three blocks.
Big man Marreese Speights continues draw charge calls, getting three more.
Harrison Barnes and Green both got hit in the face with elbows from forward Dante Cunningham. Both players, with gauze in their noses to stem the bleeding, continued to play. Barnes took two stitches and, according to Kerr, will see dentist on Monday.
The Warriors twice had to shake themselves out of defensive slumbers, allowing the Pelicans to shoot 61 percent in the first quarter and 54 percent in the third.
The turnover bug bit the Warriors harder than it has in weeks. They committed 20, with Curry accounting for six. The gaffes almost cost them the game.
The Warriors deserves major kudos for winning every game they "should" win this season. Sweeping the weekend without center Andrew Bogut is worthy of praise. But they have a barely submerged cruelty about them, and it rises up on the road. They refused to lose, sharpened their focus and got it done. Much respect.