OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Stephen Curry scored 27 points and the defending champion Golden State Warriors moved within one victory of matching the best start in NBA history, holding off the Chicago Bulls 106-94 on Friday night to improve to 14-0.
The league’s last undefeated team ran its franchise-record home winning streak to 26 games by beating a Chicago team that is the last to win at Oracle Arena during the regular season, way back in late January.
Golden State equaled the 1957-58 Celtics as the only defending champions to win their initial 14 games. The Warriors are one of five teams in NBA history to begin 14-0, and will travel to Denver looking to keep it going Sunday.
Harrison Barnes added 20 points and nine rebounds for the Warriors in a game featuring 18 lead changes and 17 ties.
Jimmy Butler had 28 points, nine rebounds and seven assists for the Bulls in the second game of a four-game road trip.
Hinrich hit a tying 3 with 5:44 to go only to see Curry knock one down moments later to put his team back up 92-89.
A day after rallying from a 23-point deficit to beat the rival Clippers in Los Angeles 124-117 – the biggest comeback in the NBA this season – Golden State overcame another slow start.
The Bulls led by 10 in the first before the Warriors roared back and got the sellout crowd at Oracle Arena rocking on Curry’s over-the-head lob pass to Andre Iguodala for a dunk.
The Bulls’ 113-111 overtime win on Jan. 27 snapped Golden State’s then-franchise record 19-game home winning streak. It was one of only two regular-season home losses last season.
Interim coach Luke Walton planned to remind his players of that loss – not that they necessarily needed it.
“I hope they remember it,” Walton said.
If Golden State gets by Denver to get to 15-0, then it will have a chance to break the record Tuesday night back home against the Lakers.
The Washington Capitols in 1948-49 and Houston Rockets in `93-94 are the other teams to start 15-0.
Golden State stressed during the preseason starting fast and shutting down on defense early to set the tone.
Yet the Warriors were allowing 34 points in the first quarter their previous three games, including 41 to the Clippers on Thursday night.
“It’s two things. It’s people wanting to be the first team to give us a loss and they’re coming out and playing like it’s a playoff game. This is the biggest game of the season for them so far,” Walton said. “And, two, we’re not matching their intensity early on. We were thrilled with the effort we had earlier in the season as far as the way we were starting games. That was one of our focal points in training camp this year.”