Warriors stay unbeaten behind another big night from Curry
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Stephen Curry fully expects to top his NBA MVP season.
''I'm more experienced, I think I'm a better player than I was last year,'' the Golden State star said after another spectacular night. ''That's the mission, but a long way to go.''
Curry led the way once more with 34 points and 10 assists, his supporting cast did plenty to take the pressure off, and the defending champion Warriors beat the Denver Nuggets 119-104 on Friday night to stay unbeaten.
Harrison Barnes scored 21 points for Golden State and Festus Ezeli had a career-high 16 points to go with seven rebounds and two blocked shots.
At 6-0, Golden State is off to the franchise's best start in its West Coast era dating to 1962-63. The Warriors are three victories from tying the Philadelphia team's 9-0 start in 1960-61.
''I like our mentality right now,'' Curry said. ''There's nobody complacent in this locker room.''
Klay Thompson added 18 points, six rebounds and five assists and Draymond Green added 12 points, nine rebounds and eight assists as Golden State extended its franchise-record home unbeaten streak to 22 games behind 40 assists - the team's most since April 1, 1994.
Danilo Gallinari led Denver with 25 points, nine on free throws in the Nuggets' third straight loss at Golden State and sixth in nine games.
Jameer Nelson's jumper with 3:44 left pulled Denver within 10 points after the Warriors had led by as many as 32.
''It was a great 24-minute performance and then just holding on at the end,'' Curry said. ''It's the NBA. It happens, but we've got to play better.''
Ezeli, filling in for the injured Andrew Bogut, dunked on two straight second-quarter possessions with a blocked shot in between and the Warriors' 28 first-half assists were a franchise record for any half.
This team has been tested just once so far, in Wednesday's 112-108 win against the Clippers - and certainly looks like a group poised for another special season even if this one's not even two weeks old.
''It's so great to carry the momentum from last season into this one,'' Thompson said.
Curry has 30 points in five of his first six games, the first Warriors player to do so since Hall of Famer Rick Barry in 1974-75. Hall of Famer Chris Mullin was the last player with 25 in each of the season's first six games (1990-91).
Curry made a 3-pointer in his 79th straight game, matching Michael Adams for the third-longest streak in NBA history.
Curry knocked down eight 3s and is shooting more of them for Golden State, which had opened defense of its title with five straight games against Western Conference playoff teams from last season.
''As long as he keeps making that many we're fine with him taking that many,'' interim coach Luke Walton said.
Denver beat Golden State at Oracle Arena 114-103 in the preseason on Oct. 13, but the Nuggets lost their fourth in five under former Warriors assistant and first-year coach Michael Malone.
He liked his team's fight down the stretch.
''My message to them after the game is, `I can coach that team that played in the second half, and be very proud regardless of the results,''' Malone said.
Walton figures it won't always be going quite this smoothly for the reigning champs.
Golden State showed that in the second half.
''It's just natural to have a letdown, and I'm sure at some point throughout this long season we'll have one,'' Walton said. ''It's up to the staff to help prepare the guys for everything and it's up to the players to want it just as bad as they did last year. From my view, they do right now. They talk about it all the time, they want more championships. They're not happy with just the one that we have.''
Warriors center Bogut missed his fifth straight game after sustaining a concussion in the Oct. 27 season opener against New Orleans. He participated in the full shootaround Friday but still must go through contact before being medically cleared from the NBA concussion protocol, which could happen this weekend.
Nuggets: C Joffrey Lauvergne missed his third straight game with a lower back strain and Denver missed his 6-foot-11 presence, getting outrebounded 17-5 in the first quarter and 53-43 overall. ... Will Barton had 19 points, eight rebounds and five assists in his first start of the season as Denver went small.
Warriors: The Warriors had their third 40-point quarter in the first. ... Golden State has scored 100 points in each of the last 38 home games. ... Golden State's home winning streak is longest ever by the Bay Area professional teams in the four major sports.
Nuggets: Host Portland on Monday.
Warriors: Visit Sacramento on Saturday.