As good as the Golden State Warriors were last season, they appear to be even better early in 2015-16 and emerged victorious after their first true test.
The Denver Nuggets don't figure to pose much of a challenge Friday night when they visit Oracle Arena.
Golden State outscored teams by an average of 10.1 points last season en route to winning the NBA title, the biggest differential since Boston was plus-10.3 in 2007-08. The Warriors (5-0) won their first four games by a league-record 100 points before rallying at home Wednesday and beating the Los Angeles Clippers 112-108.
They're averaging 114.2 points per 100 possessions offensively while allowing 92.1, leading the league in both categories. They were second offensively last season (109.7) and first defensively (98.2).
Stephen Curry scored 31 points in 33 minutes Wednesday, going 7 of 11 from 3-point range. He's 28 of 54 from beyond the arc and his 179 points are the most through five games since Michael Jordan's 182 in 1991-92.
"It was good for us to feel a little bit of adversity against a good team like that," Curry said. "We're not going to blow everybody out this year. We answered the bell."
Curry started slow, sitting for the remainder of the first quarter after picking up two fouls in the first 2:45. He scored 13 in the fourth quarter, though, hitting all three of his long-distance attempts to help the Warriors overcome a 10-point deficit.
"When we really needed him most, he stepped up for us and he made huge plays shooting deep 3s with people draped all over him," interim coach Luke Walton said. "He's a winner. He showed why he's MVP of the league."
The Nuggets (2-3) could be overwhelmed given their inefficient offense, which is shooting 41.4 percent. They hit 38.9 percent in Thursday's 96-84 loss to Utah, in which they led 24-19 after the first quarter.
"In our losses, we've had too many ups and downs," said Danilo Gallinari, who scored a team-high 18 points. "We cannot allow ourselves to have too many ups and downs and have lapses in the game where we don't have pace, we don't play defense. We cannot do that. We've got to play for 48 minutes."
Turnovers figure to be key in this matchup. Despite playing at the league's fourth-fastest pace, Golden State is averaging only 12.8 turnovers, while Denver's opponents are scoring 20.2 points per game off turnovers - the fourth-most in the NBA. Nuggets rookie point guard Emmanuel Mudiay is committing 5.6 turnovers per game and has only a 1.04 assist-to-turnover ratio while shooting 30.2 percent from the field.
Meanwhile, Curry has only eight turnovers despite a 33.3 usage percentage that ranks among the league's highest.
Golden State averaged 119.3 points and shot 45.9 percent from 3-point range while winning two of three meetings last season, including a 133-126 victory April 15 despite only 10 points by Curry. Six other Warriors scored 10-plus.
Klay Thompson is off to a slow start, averaging 13.8 points and going 5 of 17 from beyond the arc after scoring 21.7 per game and shooting 43.9 percent from deep in 2014-15. He has hit 14 of 25 3-pointers in his last four against Denver, however.