Any way you slice it or dice it, the Golden State Warriors certainly appear to be the best team in the NBA after they extended their winning streak to 11 games with a 112-85 rout of the playoff-hopeful New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday night in Oakland.
The Warriors, who have an NBA-best record of 16-2, have built a championship contender behind the backcourt duo of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, a pair of sharp-shooting guards who have helped Golden State average 106.8 points a game, third best in the league.
Now that the Warriors have improved on defense and are beating teams by an NBA-best 10.9 points a game, they've become nearly unbeatable. Golden State is 9-2 against opponents from the rugged Western Conference, 7-1 against Pacific Division rivals and sports an impressive 9-1 record on the road.
Thompson, who had a team-high 23 points in the win Thursday, says improved defense has helped fuel the winning streak.
"We've got such versatile defenders and such big wings ... we might have the longest team in the NBA,” Thompson told reporters after the game. "And people don't appreciate Steph's defense as much as they should."
Curry had four of the Warriors' 11 steals against the Pelicans, who were forced into 17 turnovers. The all-star point guard also had 19 points and a season-high 11 assists.
How well did Golden State play Thursday?
"That's the best game we've played in a long time," said Coach Steve Kerr, who took over this season after Mark Jackson helped build the team into a playoff contender. “Part of it was that we knew we were challenged by this team. It was good for our team to come in and feel threatened, and as a result kind of get our edge back."
Not good news for the rest of the NBA.