MIAMI: The Golden State Warriors shrugged off an early start to pummel the Orlando Magic 118-98 and seal their seventh consecutive victory on Sunday (Monday in Manila).
Stephen Curry led the Warriors’ scoring with 27 points, draining seven of 13 three-point attempts as the Dubs improved to 38-6.
The victory leaves the Warriors on pace to become the first team in history to win 65 games or more for three NBA seasons in a row.
Curry later admitted the Warriors had struggled to get into their usual rhythm after the 12pm (1700 GMT) start.
“It was an early start, and a challenge mentally, but it shouldn’t matter what time of day it is,” Curry said. “We want to win whenever we play. We showed how much winning means to this team.”
The Warriors conceded eight turnovers in the opening six minutes as the early start took hold.
Curry poured on 16 points of his final tally during a third quarter surge that saw Golden State race into an 18-point lead.
“It was weird,” Curry said. “We struggled early, but we left our mark in the third quarter. That’s when we were at our best.”
Klay Thompson scored 21 points while Kevin Durant weighed in with 15 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.
Draymond Green had a low-scoring game with six points but pulled down 10 rebounds.
“I needed a wakeup call today,” Green said. “It’s difficult to play this early. You could tell by the way we played at the start. But that’s the NBA, and we figured it out and got it done.”
The Warriors win was their 20th consecutive victory in which they had scored 100 points or more and extended their record of dominance over Eastern Conference teams to 14-1 this season.
Eldrid Payton led the scoring for the Magic with 23 points and 10 assists, while Bismack Biyombo (12), Nikola Vucevic and Jeff Green (12 each) also made double figures.
Orlando forward Jeff Green said the Magic had been powerless to respond during the decisive third period when the Warriors pulled clear.
“There’s not much you can do when they (Warriors) get it going like that,” Green said. “That’s why they are who they are, and get the acclaim that they do. It gets tough for any opponent playing against them.”
“There’s just no margin for error against them,” Magic coach Frank Vogel added. “The way you punch back against them is by making shots yourself. We missed too many today.”
Lakers suffer historic rout in Mavericks blowout
The Los Angeles Lakers crashed to the heaviest defeat in the iconic NBA franchise’s history, slumping to a humiliating 122-73 loss on the road against the Dallas Mavericks.
The Lakers, who are in the midst of a rebuilding phase this season after two disastrous seasons, hit rock bottom in Dallas after a nightmarish first half that saw them trailing by 34 points at the break.
Lakers coach Luke Walton offered no excuses after a loss he described as “embarrassing.”
“We didn’t show up to play, honestly, which is frustrating,” Walton told a press conference.
“And honestly it’s embarrassing – for us as a team, for us as an organization, for our Lakers fans that are so good to us.”
Walton however declined to be drawn on how he planned to respond to the rout.
“We have teaching points, but what I say to them behind those doors, that is between us,” Walton said. “I think they understand and would agree and would feel inside the same way that I feel.”
At one stage Dallas’s lead jumped up to 53 points as the Lakers collapsed.
“They were just picking us apart,” Lakers guard Nick Young said. “We didn’t fight back.”
Lakers youngster Julius Randle was even more blunt: “They kicked our butts today.”
The Mavericks, who are 15-29, snapped a two-game losing streak with the win as the Lakers fell to 16-32.
The Lakers problems were laid bare in ugly statistics — making just 13 of 37 from the floor in the first half, with nine turnovers.
“You’ve got to point to our defense. In that second quarter, I thought we did a great job defensively, setting the tone and setting the tempo,” said Mavs guard Deron Williams, who finished with 13 points.
“It created a lot of offense off the turnovers, and then just getting out and running. They only had 11 points in that quarter, so our defense got us going.”
The Lakers are one of the most successful franchises in NBA history with 16 championships but their fortunes have dipped in recent years.
The last of their NBA Finals triumphs came in 2010 while last season they finished with a 17-65 record — the worst in franchise history.