OAKLAND -- There are many nights, particularly in front of the adoring Oracle Arena crowd, when the Warriors come together as a unit and line up with MVP candidate Stephen Curry to destroy opponents.
On Thursday night, Curry didn't need much from his supporting cast to lift the Warriors to a 116-105 victory that sent fans into delirium and left the Portland Trail Blazers in a crumpled heap.
Oh, Klay Thompson did plenty of damage, shrugging off his latest slump with 26 points, including 3-of-5 shooting from deep. And Draymond Green continued to polish his blue-collar cred, laboring for 11 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.
But Curry was the spirit, the catalyst, and the finisher. He broke his single-season record for 3-pointers in the second quarter, then broke Portland in the fourth.
"I don't even know how to describe what I watched tonight," Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who as a player was a teammate of Michael Almighty Jordan. "Scintillating? Every move, every shot . . . it was just amazing skill.
"I have never seen a player with his skill set."
Curry scored 45 points, 19 of which came in a comeback fourth quarter. He was 17-of-23 from the floor, including 8-of-13 beyond the arc. He passed for 10 assists. He shot from close, shot from deep, shot from his hip. He did his usual tricks while dribbling the basketball. It was like magic, without the preceding drum rolls.
"He dominated when he was in the game," Portland coach Terry Stotts said.
"We tried to mix up our coverages a little bit, because (Curry) came out with open shots from everywhere," Blazers All-Star point guard Damian Lillard said. "But our coverages just didn't matter. He made shots with a hand in his face, off balance and deep. He made everything."
The Warriors held an 88-86 lead when Curry re-entered the game with 8:06 to play. He fed Andre Iguodala for a dunk, dropped in a 12-foot runner, fed Thompson for a 3-point bomb and then drained his own 3-pointer. That put the Warriors up 98-93 with 5:17 to play and, moreover, forced the Blazers to call timeout in hopes of regrouping.
Didn't happen. Over the final 4:40, Curry made five more buckets and three free throws to deliver victory that deeply wounded Portland's attempts to nab one of the top four records in the Western Conference.
"I finally played the fourth quarter, so I wanted to make some plays," Curry said, half-jokingly. "It was fun."
It was enough to keep intact the Warriors (64-15) failure to lose three consecutive games this season. They've lost two straight on four occasions, but never a third in a row.
"We're a prideful team," Curry said. "We know we've clinched a lot already in the regular season. It's just about how many wins we get at this point. But for us to build momentum into the playoffs, this is a big game for us. With a team that's fighting for seeding, we've got to protect our home court."
Portland (51-28) has clinched the Northwest Division and can't drop any lower than a No. 4 seed. That does not, however, ensure homecourt advantage in the first round because that aspect is decided on the basis of record only.
Life for the Blazers just got tougher.
Life for the Warriors got back to normal. Their 15th consecutive win at Oracle was their 20th in a row against Western Conference opponents. They're 37-2 at home.
As for Curry, well, this was a night when he took his game a level higher than what has become, for him, the new normal.
Curry, hot and remorseless. He became the first Warrior since Latrell Sprewell to post a 45/10 game. Wear shades when checking his stats. He now has 276 3-pointers. Do not assume he won't get to 300.
Despite some uh-oh moments, Thompson was back to being himself. His confidence never wavers, but his game was up to the task.
Torrid 3-point shooting (12 of 26) pushed the Warriors to their 45th double-digit win of the season.
The bench had a forgettable night, with 6-of-23 shooting, and the same number of turnovers (four) as assists.
This was the Baby-faced Assassin at his finest. He savors competing against Lillard, the Oakland native who always wants to make a statement in his hometown. He had his moments, but on this night Lillard was in over his head. So were his teammates. Curry has not vocally campaigned for MVP. But performances such as this one, on national TV, speak clearly and eloquently on his behalf.