The Golden State Warriors entered Wednesday with the NBA’s season-high point total of 133. They began their late home game against the Los Angeles Lakers without it after the Cleveland Cavaliers put up 137 points on the defense-averse Portland Trail Blazers. Whether due to losing this mark or hoping to avenge a blowout loss to the Lakers on November 5, the Warriors started this contest on fire and never really let up. As such, they will go to the Thanksgiving dinner table with the same NBA season-high they had at the beginning of the day.
However, simply noting that the Cavs’ season-high lasted only a few hours does not communicate the full devastation that the Warriors visited upon the Lakers at Oracle Arena. It was instead the most complete performance of the NBA season, a 149-106demolition where the eventual total and margin of victory provided the only suspense. That’s the most points a team has scored in a non-overtime game since the Phoenix Sunsposted a 152-114 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves in March 2010. It’s amazing to wonder what the Warriors could have accomplished if they hadn’t managed only 26 points in the third quarter.
Yet it was how they scored that impressed most. Golden State assisted on 47 of 53 baskets, good enough to break a franchise record. It’s also the most assists an NBA team has had since the Suns dished out the same number in November 1991. A few of Golden State’s assists were arguably the product of a home scorekeeper (especially in garbage time late in the fourth quarter), but they earned the record regardless. Draymond Green (11) and Stephen Curry (9) posted notable individual totals, but four others joined them with at least four assists. It was a team effort dependent on moving the ball from side to side, taking advantage of any gaps in the Lakers defense, and making shots.
The Warriors didn’t even try to run up the score. Curry (31 points on 7-of-12 from deep), Kevin Durant (28 on 11-of-15 FG), Klay Thompson (26 on 9-of-14 FG), and Ian Clark (7-of-8 FG and 5-of-5 3FG) were all great, but KD led the team in minutes with a mere 30. For that matter, it wasn’t even as if every key player had a great shooting night — Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala combined to go 3-of-13 from the field and the team as a whole missed 11 free throws out of 35 attempts.
These are not normal numbers, but we’re dealing with an abnormally great offense. The Warriors entered the night with the NBA’s best offense at 113.8 points per 100 possessions (2.7 points better than the No. 2 Los Angeles Clippers). They’re now at 115.7, a ridiculous 1.9-point boost in just one game. The Lakers defense fared even worse — they started the night at 107.2 points allowed per 100 possessions (26th) and finished at 109.4 (29th, or second-to-last).
Every hope and fear about the Warriors offense with Kevin Durant appears to be coming true. The Lakers are no one idea’s of an elite defense, but it was absurd to see them flail so hopelessly when trying to defend Curry, Thompson, Durant, Green, and another rotation player at the same time (or sometimes even just two or three of them). Yes, it must have been very tough to play the Warriors one night after an intense final-possession winover the Oklahoma City Thunder and a rabid Russell Westbrook. But teams do not simply score 149 points due to fortunate scheduling.
It’s hard to expect such nights, but Durant and the Warriors have now been together long enough to carry the potential for history every time they take the court. It only took 30 days to get to this point. The rest of the league is on notice.