The Golden State Warriors won the battle of the NBA’s two best teams on Wednesday, routing the high-flying Atlanta Hawks 114-95.
With a season-high 25 points from Harrison Barnes and 21 from Andre Iguodala, the Warriors shook off the injury absence of Klay Thompson and a so-so shooting night for Stephen Curry.
With their 10th straight home win, the Western Conference-leading Warriors maintained the best record in the NBA at 54-13 – narrowly ahead of Eastern Conference leaders Atlanta who fell to 53-15.
Despite connecting on just four of 11 shots from the floor, Curry still finished with 16 points and handed out 12 assists for Golden State.
In addition to his season-high 21 points, Iguodala handed out six assists.
Draymond Green added 18 points – draining five of his seven attempts from three-point range – and pulled down seven rebounds, while Golden State’s Australian big man Andrew Bogut grabbed 14 rebounds.
“I think the defensive end is what got it done for us,” Green said. “We were able to lock those guys down for the most part of the game.
“Once we got good on the defensive end, we were able to get out and run and we started knocking shots down and got it going.”
The victory came a day after Warriors head coach Steve Kerr announced that Thompson will miss seven to 10 days with an ankle injury suffered on Monday against the Lakers.
DeMarre Carroll scored 16 points with 12 rebounds for the Hawks, but Atlanta centre Al Horford was held to eight points on four-of-18 shooting.
Atlanta, missing injured All-Star guard Kyle Korver, saw a three-game winning streak snapped, and missed a chance to clinch their first Southeast division title since 1993-94 season.
The Warriors closed out the third quarter on a 14-3 scoring run to blow the contest open.
Iguodala’s layup in the waning moments of the period gave the hosts an 83-64 lead going into the fourth quarter.
The Warriors led by as many as 29 in the final frame.
“We didn’t do what we needed to do on defense,” Carroll said. “You can live with making and missing shots, but defensively we have to get down and get more gritty and more dirty.”