ATLANTA (AP) — Stephen Curry scored 36 points and the Golden State Warriors became the fastest team in NBA history to 50 wins, beating the Atlanta Hawks 102-92 Monday night after squandering a 23-point lead.
The Warriors (50-5) eclipsed the mark set by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, who needed one more game to win their 50th. Of course, that’s the team Golden State is chasing, moving another step closer to the record 72-10 mark put up by Michael Jordan & Co. at the height of their six-titles-in-eight-years dynasty.
Curry and the defending NBA champions appeared headed for a rout against the struggling Hawks, pushing out to a 70-47 lead approaching the midway point of the third quarter. Atlanta closed the period on a 28-6 run and grabbed the lead briefly early in the fourth, igniting the sellout crowd.
But the Warriors would not be denied, bouncing back to hand the Hawks their fourth straight home loss.
Klay Thompson added 27 points for the Warriors. Both he and Curry knocked down five shots from 3-point range. Draymond Green didn’t do much offensively, scoring only six points, but he had 14 rebounds and nine assists.
Al Horford led the Hawks with 23 points.
Curry put on a clinic in the first half, thoroughly dominating Hawks point guard Jeff Teague.
Perhaps the best sequence came when Curry swished a towering 3-pointer from the corner, the ball seeming to disappear into the rafters of Philips Arena at the height of its arc. Then, after posing briefly in front of the Golden State bench, he hustled back to the other end to draw an offensive foul on Teague, who looked befuddled by what he was seeing.
At the end of the half, with the clock running down and Teague right in his face, Curry somehow found just enough space to knock down another amazing jumper from the corner, though this one with his foot on the stripe.
Someone on the Golden State bench threw a white towel high in the air – partly to celebrate, partly in disbelief.
The Hawks could’ve thrown in the towel early in the third.
Instead, Atlanta finally showed some fight against the league’s best team, making five 3-pointers and nearly 60 percent of its shots in period.
The Warriors regained control in the fourth, helped by Curry’s 3 that left him wiggling his shoulders in front of the Atlanta bench.
Warriors: Improved to 45-0 when leading after the third quarter. It looked as though the Hawks would have the lead heading to the fourth, but a video review showed Thabo Sefolosha‘s jumper left his hand a split-second after the clock expired, leaving Golden State ahead 76-75. … Andrew Bogut played 29 minutes with a strained right Achilles, grabbing 11 rebounds. … Newly signed Anderson Varejao watched the game from the Warriors bench but didn’t play. He was signed after being cut last week by Portland. … Golden State had 30 assists in a game for the 29th time.
Hawks: Have lost four straight home games for the first time since March 21 to April 1, 2007, according to STATS. … Tim Hardaway Jr. had some effective spurts off the bench, scoring 12 points. … Atlanta made 10 of 34 from 3-point range and is 19 of 75 from beyond the arc in its last two games.