OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Stephen Curry scored 27 points and the Golden State Warriors became the second team to win 70 games in a season by beating the San Antonio Spurs 112-101 on Thursday night, wrapping up home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.
The Warriors (70-9) bounced back from their second loss in three home games two nights earlier against Minnesota and joined the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls as the only teams to win 70 games. Golden State can break Chicago’s single-season record of 72 wins by sweeping the final three games, including a rematch in San Antonio on Sunday.
Harrison Barnes scored 21 points and Draymond Green added 18 to help the Warriors avoid losing back-to-back games for the first time this season. Golden State has outscored the opposition by 14.6 points per game following its nine losses.
Kawhi Leonard scored 23 points for the Spurs, who will enter the playoffs next weekend as the second seed in the West.
San Antonio has been outscored by 41 points in two losses at Golden State this season and will have to open on the road if these teams meet again in the conference finals.
After a relatively quiet first half, Curry took the game over in the third quarter and sent the Warriors to their second easy win at home against the Spurs this season. Curry had 15 points and four assists in the quarter — directly contributing to 11 of Golden State’s 16 baskets — as he was able to drive to the basket with ease for either his own shot or to set up a teammate.
Curry’s second 3-pointer of the game gave the Warriors a 19-point lead and then he fed Andrew Bogut for a dunk on the next trip to make it 69-48. The Warriors shot 80 percent in the third alone and took an 87-69 lead into the fourth — easily passing the 79 points they scored the entire game in last month’s loss at San Antonio.
This was a highly anticipated showdown between the league’s top two teams, with the 134 combined wins the most ever in a regular-season matchup. Both took the game seriously, with Spurs coach Gregg Popovich opting to play his stars instead of resting them. Popovich even called a timeout less than a minute into the game after a defensive breakdown led to an open 3-pointer for Klay Thompson.
Not to be outdone, Warriors coach Steve Kerr got angry after a turnover led to an open 3-pointer for Danny Green late in the first half and slammed his white board so hard during the timeout that his marker flew into the air.
That 3 by Green helped the Spurs cut a 15-point deficit down to six in the final minute of the half. But Barnes answered with a pair of two 3-pointers to give the Warriors a 52-40 lead at the break.
Spurs: F LaMarcus Aldridge left the game late in the first quarter with a dislocated right pinky finger. Trainers taped it to his ring finger and he returned in the second quarter.
Warriors: Draymond Green committed two fouls in the first 3:53 and then got called for a technical for arguing the second call before going to the bench early. … Barnes has scored in double figures in a career-high nine straight games.
Spurs: Visit Denver on Friday.
Warriors: Visit Memphis on Saturday.