OAKLAND – With the Clippers coming to Oracle Arena for the usual top-shelf competition with the Warriors, this would be the toughest test of the early season, surely providing a fair means by which to measure the unbeaten locals.
Well, that storyline was ruined by halftime Wednesday night before a delirious sellout crowd at Oracle Arena.
Draymond Green and the rest of the Warriors stomped and danced all over the Clippers, and it wasn't nearly as close as the 121-104 score would indicate.
"Right from the beginning, our guys were ready," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "We talked throughout camp about the importance of the home floor. We have such an incredible crowd – it's electric in this building."
The Warriors led by as much as 29 points in the third quarter. They shot 58.1 percent from the floor, 60 percent from the 3-point line and 100 percent from the foul line. They won the battles of rebounds (39-30) and assists (29-26).
"If this was a playoff series, we would lose in four games," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "And it would be a destruction."
Green, given the assignment he seems to relish above all others, Clippers power forward Blake Griffin, routed the All-Star. Griffin got off to a 1-of-6 start on offense and got only slightly better. Worse, he grabbed all of one rebound in 31 minutes.
Green, meanwhile, was putting on a spectacular exhibition, scoring a career-high 24 points (on 8-of-13 shooting, 4-of-8 from beyond the arc), adding eight rebounds and five assists. And his energy, contagious as hell, can't be quantified.
"Draymond was the guy that triggered everything for us," Kerr said.
Green is starting at power forward in place of incumbent starter David Lee, who missed the first three games with a strained hamstring. Lee made his season debut but played only seven minutes before he aggravated the injury.
That left more minutes for Green, who played a team-high 36.
"We have to attack," Green said. "We have to stay in attack mode and continue to move the basketball like we have been doing and attack. We have a lot of great scorers on this team. We have every piece we need to have a complete team. We just have to take advantage of it.
"Our depth wore them down and we have to continue to take advantage of that."
Eleven different Warriors played, with eight logging at least 18 minutes. Nine different players scored. It was such a comprehensive rout that Rivers spent a half hour lecturing his team and still was furious during his postgame news conference.
"They came here to kick our butts," Rivers said. "David Lee looked like he worked out for a month just to get back to this game. I mean, my God, they're running to this game and we're running away from the game."
THE GOOD: Green was the star of the game, but Curry also delivered superbly: game-high 28 points, seven assists and six rebounds. He won his personal battle with Clipper All-Star Chris Paul.
Klay Thompson took a seat after getting two quick fouls but came back to score 19 points and block two shots.
Andrew Bogut responded to the Warriors' rebounding woes, nabbing nine in the first 10 minutes and finishing with a game-high 14. He added five assists.
Leandro Barbosa (13 points in 18 minutes) and Shaun Livingston (6 points and six assists in 19 minutes) were terrific off the bench.
The Warriors made every free throw they took, all 20.
THE BAD: Not much to see here, folks, other than the 23 turnovers that rankled Kerr and Festus Ezeli's four turnovers in 10 minutes as he continues to work his way back into the rotation.
THE TAKE: The Warriors clearly were primed for this game. They owned it from the start and poured in on until they got sloppy in the fourth quarter (eight turnovers).
This was a showcase game for them, an example of how good they are now – very good – and how much better they still can be. They're going to lose, eventually, but for now they are one of only three undefeated NBA teams. That's worth something.