OAKLAND -– For the first time in weeks, the Warriors on Monday night looked like the team we’ve come to know and expect.
Splash Brothers Steph Curry and Klay Thompson were rolling, each guard dropping in 30 points.
Draymond Green was shooting, rebounding and passing his way to yet another triple-double -- his league-best seventh this season and his third in a row, becoming the 15th NBA player to achieve that feat.
Big man Marreese Speights, thunder off the bench last season but thudding through most of this season, was back to being "Mo Buckets," pouring in a season-high 15 points in 17 minutes.
And there was Harrison Barnes, after sitting out 16 games with a sprained ankle and bone bruise, returning to action, getting a standing ovation upon entering the game late in the first quarter and hitting three of his first four shots.
It all added up to a fairly complete Warriors team earning a thorough 111-101 victory over the Charlotte Hornets before a satisfied sellout crowd at Oracle Arena.
“We’re getting there,” assessed center Andrew Bogut. “There are still a couple guys and our head coach (Steve Kerr) that are missing. But for the most part, we’re getting there.”
Curry, listed on the injury list as “questionable” as he copes with a contusion on his left shin, was in doubt until after completing his pregame workout an hour before tipoff. As soon as the game started, he looked like the reigning MVP.
“I didn’t even think Steph was going to play tonight,” interim coach Luke Walton said. “We went through our scout team with Shaun (Livingston) in our starting lineup this morning. He said he felt good out there and they cleared him.
“If Steph Curry is going to play, then I’m never surprised he’s going to score 30 points.”
More important, Curry said he felt no discomfort after his 32-minute stint.
“And I didn’t get kicked,” he said, “which was nice."
Curry’s scoring came with no drop in offense from his sidekick, Thompson, who through three quarters had 30 points in 29 minutes. He’s averaging 31.3 points per game over the past three games.
And yet it was Green’s ongoing excellence that sprinkled itself over the game. After being named the Western Conference Player of the Week on Monday morning, he went out seven hours later and delivered 13 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists.
“You look up in the second quarter and he’s filling he stat sheet in all sorts of ways,” Curry said of his teammate. “He’s playing at a very, very high level. His consistency is off the charts. One night, it’s big scoring and assists and rebounds. Tonight, it was a floor game, picking and choosing spots ...
“It’s amazing how he can impact the game, whether you realize it or not. It sneaks up on you, and some games it’s loud. It’s fun to watch.”
Curry, Thompson and Green are the pillars around which the Warriors are built. They generally dictate the ups and downs, and there have been precious few of the latter in raising their record to inconceivable 32-2.
That makes the return of Barnes and the emergence of Speights so important. They are on board to complement the others, and they did so beautifully.
Speights made 7-of-10 shots; he appeared confident and, moreover, composed. Though Brandon Rush started at small forward, Barnes’ impact was noticeable. He missed his first shot but made his next three in a two-minute span early in the second quarter.
“I thought there would be more rust than there was,” Walton said, “but our main concern is getting him back into shape to where he won’t hurt himself again.”
Most encouraging for all for this bunch was the short injury list. Two nights after nine players suited up, only two did not. Guard Leandro Barbosa remains out with a left shoulder sprain and forward James Michael McAdoo is nursing a sprained toe on his left foot. Center Festus Ezeli dressed but Walton decided prior to tipoff that he would be used only in case of emergency.
There was no emergency on this night. The Warriors went ahead late in the opening quarter and never lost the lead, going ahead by as much as 22.