DALLAS -– Off the fingertips of Klay Thompson or Steph Curry, the treys were soaring and splashing. They were dropping early and late and, in the end, it was too much for an explosive Dallas team to keep pace.
The Warriors put on nothing less than a long-range shooting exhibition Friday night at American Airlines Center, and the result was a franchise- and season-high-tying 22 3-points in a 130-112 dispatching of the Mavericks.
“You make 22 3s,” coach Steve Kerr said with glee, “you’re usually going to win.”
This was a game the Warriors wanted for several reasons. For one, they yearned to overcome even the slightest hint of lethargy one night before meeting the Spurs in San Antonio. Two, they longed for retribution from being routed here in December. Three, they surely like the idea of being two games ahead of the pace set by the 1995-96 Bulls, who won an NBA-record 72 games that season.
And, four, the Mavericks are among the four or five teams the Warriors could see in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.
“The biggest thing that we talked about in the locker room was the fact that in a couple weeks or a month, we may be seeing this team,” forward Harrison Barnes said. “This may be a playoff matchup and every game matters.
“You can’t be looking forward to the next game, like, ‘Oh, we’re playing the Spurs,’ and all of a sudden you see this team in the first round and they have a lot of confidence.”
The defending champions (62-6) accomplished all four goals, with Thompson and Curry leading the charge.
“I was in a great flow and got a lot of great looks early,” said Thompson, who made six treys in a row en route to 20 first-half points. “Whenever you do that, you get into a nice zone. It was a fun night.”
Thompson was 14-of-22 (10-of-15 from 3-point distance) and finished with 39 points. Curry was 12-of-26 (6-of-12 from deep) for 31 points and also led the team in assists (10) and rebounds (nine).
“It was unbelievable,” Curry said. “We like to shoot those shots and do it in rhythm. We have a lot of confidence and tonight was a demonstration of that.”
The Warriors fought back several Dallas runs, the last of which pulled the Mavs within one (98-97) with 9:13 to play. The Warriors then picked up their defense, holding Dallas to 2-of-8 shooting, with three turnovers to fuel a 32-15 run to the final horn.
“I was happy that down the stretch we moved the ball,” Kerr said. “We got into a little bit of a funk there for a while, where we were taking shots too quickly. We had three or four possessions in the mid-fourth quarter where we moved and moved it – four or five passes – and scored. That kind of allowed us to pull away.”
Nothing Dallas (34-35) tried, including some zone defense, really seemed to slow the Warriors, who trailed by as much as eight in the opening quarter. The Warriors shot 50.5 percent from the field and an amazing 57.9 percent (22 of 38) from beyond the arc.
Harrison Barnes joined in the proceedings, making 2-of-3 from beyond the arc, snapping a 0-of-14 stretch from deep. Draymond Green dropped in both his 3-point attempts, while Marreese Speights and Leandro Barbosa one apiece.
That was more than enough to offset losing the rebounding battle (46-42) and, with some interesting officiating, shooting 14 free throws to 22 for the Mavericks.
Those things become trivial when Thompson and Curry are punishing opponents with 3-pointers.
“It’s one of those nights where they both had it going,” Kerr said. “It happens not every night, but it happens frequently. It’s the best-shooting backcourt that I’ve ever seen, and it’s the kind of game, a wide-open game, where they’re going to get some open looks. And they both got going early and carried through.”