Programming note: Warriors-Thunder coverage starts Friday at 4:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and streaming on Live Extra
OAKLAND – In the wake of a 104-89 win over the Miami Heat Wednesday night, Warriors coach Steve Kerr issued what amounts to a warning.
Not to his players but to fans.
The next three weeks, Kerr indicated, may not deliver the best basketball. Not by the Warriors or any other team in the NBA.
"I think this is the beginning of the dog days in the NBA," he said. "Now to the All-Star break is when it gets hard. The newness of the season is over. We're on this great run, we're not even halfway through and guys are tired. Everybody is tired around the league.
"So you have to fight through that. That's one of the reasons we're playing 10 guys now routinely. We're trying to get through that period. If we can do it and pick up wins like we did tonight, then that's great."
Playing before the 100th consecutive sellout crowd at Oracle Arena, the Warriors were solid in the first half, wavered in the third quarter and early in the fourth, just enough to make fans anxious, and then finished off the Heat over the final nine minutes.
The Warriors (31-5) were outrebounded for the second straight night but managed to force 19 Miami turnovers and turn them into 21 points. Nothing helped more than the Warriors' bench crushing that of the Heat, 41-17.
"We played against a team that doesn't usually play seven or eight guys and has some younger guys coming off the bench," said David Lee, who had eight points, six rebounds and five assists as a reserve. "So we just tried to take advantage of that."
It was not a work of art, but it didn't have to be. Not against a Heat team that made four consecutive NBA Finals appearances but is not even a rumor of what it was. LeBron James took his talents back to Cleveland and Dwyane Wade was restricted to the bench, nursing a strained hamstring.
It was, however, enough to give the Warriors their eighth win in a row and their 15th straight at Oracle Arena, tying the franchise record for consecutive wins in the West Coast era that began in 1962.
One player who did not look the least bit tired was Stephen Curry. One night after leading the team to a win at Utah by scoring and playmaking, Curry had a season-low three assists but poured in 32 points in 32 minutes – including 7-of-10 from 3-point range. Consider it another cut for his MVP campaign video.
"We hope to win games, but we know it's not going to be easy as we go through," Curry said. "So it's nice to rack up some rest time and play well."
Every restful minute helps at this point of the season. That's especially true for a team headed back on the road Thursday to play at Oklahoma City on Friday and at Houston on Saturday.
The bench shot 54.8 percent (17-of-31). Many of their buckets were set up by Andre Iguodala, who finished with a team-high seven assists.
The Warriors maintained their perfect record (13-0) against Eastern Conference competition.
The Warriors were 13-of-29 from 3-point range, draining double-digit treys for their eighth consecutive game, the longest active streak in the league.
Andrew Bogut, a notoriously poor free throw shooter (52.6 percent entering the game) made 4-of-4 from the line in the fourth quarter.
The starting lineup shot 42 percent (21 of 50).
Curry, a 92.7 percent free-throw shooter went to the line to shoot a pair in the fourth quarter and missed both.
Harrison Barnes had such a quiet night (two points, 1-of-6 shooting, five rebounds) that he spent most of the fourth quarter on the bench, with Iguodala on the floor.
The Warriors are rolling like a machine and they seem to know it, particularly when they are on their home court. The Heat were undermanned but plucky, constantly eating away bits of Warriors leads. The Warriors maintained their composure, made use of their lengthy bench and posted a businesslike win over an inferior team.
It helps tremendously to have an MVP candidate like Curry as insurance.