Warriors take down Hawks comfortably in battle of NBA’s top teams


Was this an NBA Finals preview? Maybe, although the Cleveland Cavaliers and seven other teams from the West will have something to say about that.

It was a meeting of the teams with the two best records in the NBA this season, and round two easily went to the Golden State Warriors 114-95. That evens the series after Atlanta won the first meeting on its home court six weeks ago (although that first meeting was close and entertaining).

Golden State led most of the way, taking a small lead in the first quarter and expanding it to a dozen by the half, 59-47. Then the Warriors’ bench helped spark a 14-3 run late in the third quarter that turned this into a route. This became a party at Oracle Arena, a celebration of just how good the Warriors are when their offense — the top rated in the NBA — gets rolling. It was dunks, it was three-pointers, it was Stephen Curry whipping a behind-the-back pass to Leandro Barbosa for a corner three. In the end, Harison Barnes led Golden State with 25 points while Andre Iguodala pitched in 21.

Both teams were without key parts: Golden State’s Klay Thompson is out with a sprained ankle, Atlanta sharpshooter Kyle Korver will miss a few more games with a broken nose. You can dismiss this game as a one-off if you wish. Know that if there is a Finals matchup the Warriors will not dispatch the Hawks quite so easily.

What I do know is if this is a Finals preview I’m okay with that — that matchup would be entertaining.