The Golden State Warriors destroyed the depleted Los Angeles Lakers 149-106 in a game that wasn’t competitive for very long. The Warriors detonated for 80 points in the first half, with Stephen Curry (31 points, 9 assists), Kevin Durant (28 points), Klay Thompson (26 points) and Draymond Green (11 assists, 9 rebounds) treating fans to something that looked more like choreography than basketball.
Lately, the Warriors have faced a disproportionate number of flawed, injured opponents. That said, lately, the Warriors have looked fearsome while feasting on the weakened.
When the Warriors came together, there were fears around the league. Apparently those fears extended all the way to Fifth Avenue, considering NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s response to the formation of Voltron.
“Just to be absolutely clear: I do not think that's ideal from the league standpoint," Silver said.
This was the team that would break basketball. This was the team that would make winning by 40 a dreary routine.
Early returns suggested such terror was overblown. In the opener at Oracle, the Warriors were eviscerated by the San Antonio Spurs, and on Nov. 4, they were blown out in Los Angeles by these Lakers.
Since then? Well, rumors of the league’s demise might have been greatly exaggerated, but the Warriors have been striking a scarier chord and posting what would qualify as the best offensive efficiency in league history.
The firepower was on full display Wednesday, with Curry leading the charge. You could assume the Lakers were in for a long night when Curry’s first 3-pointer came off a Thompson pass to the angle (Thompson has a noted tendency to miss an open Curry in transition).
After two off shooting games in a row, Curry unburdened himself by nailing four 3s in the first quarter and six in the half. His signature play of the half was a pass: a left-handed bullet for a Shaun Livingston reverse dunk. If not for that, it might have been the baseball-style bouncer for a racing Green dunk in transition.
Curry was far from alone. He, Durant and Thompson combined for 81 points through three quarters of play. By that point, the Lakers had scored just 78. In deepest garbage time, Ian Clark was piling onto the embarrassment of points, as he compiled 21 of them in his 18-minute stint.
When it was all over, the Warriors had claimed a franchise-record 47 assists. Although the offensive explosion might have ruined Lakers coach Luke Walton's return to Oracle, he had to appreciate what he witnessed.
“The 47 assists on  field goals is one of the greatest stats I've ever heard or seen,” Walton said postgame. “Unfortunately, it happened against us. To me, that's basketball at its best. It's unselfish play.”
It has become clear that the Warriors are clicking.
As Warriors coach Steve Kerr put it after the game, “You figure that it's going to take a little while, but how do you pinpoint when it's going to click? So there's no way of telling.
"I did think it would happen relatively smoothly, in terms of incorporating Kevin [Durant] in terms of what we do because he's such a great playmaker and he enjoys playing the way we play. It's not like we're trying to fit the square peg in the round hole.”
Kerr spoke to Wednesday as illustrative of why this all happened, of why Durant exchanged so much goodwill in Oklahoma City for a new challenge in Oakland.
“He came here for a reason,” Kerr said. “I think he enjoyed watching us play in recent years, and I think he wanted to be a part of it, and he fits right in.”
Also a key to this ridiculous recent output? It might be Green, point forward.
In pregame, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of his combustible All-Star: “He's kept his poise. He's been one of the best players in the league night in and night out, and he's doing it in a manner in which he's kind of maintained his emotion but kept his edge, and that's the balance we were hoping he would find, and he's doing a great job."
Green has played in control this season, eschewing shot attempts that have to be tempting. He converted only one bucket Wednesday, but his passing was integral to the onslaught. Counterintuitively, sacrifices must be made for a team to put up such decadent point totals. Maybe such sacrifices will lead to a 90-point half someday -- or, if we’re getting ambitious, 100.
Maybe, just maybe, if Golden State keeps playing unselfishly, they’ll actually become the team of so many summer nightmares.