Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson each scored 31 points as the Golden State Warriors, propelled by an NBA-record, 51-point first quarter, regained the top spot in the Western Conference by routing the Denver Nuggets 142-111 on Tuesday night.
Golden State cruised to a fifth straight win to move a half-game in front of the Nuggets, who had their 12-game home winning streak snapped.
The showdown between the top two teams in the conference proved a little too big for the Nuggets, with Curry and Co putting on a shooting exhibition all night long.
The clinic began early with the Warriors erupting for 51 points in the opening quarter, breaking the old mark of 50 held by several teams. The last time it happened was also against Denver when Phoenix scored 50 on November 10, 1990.
Golden State shot a blistering 60 per cent from the field, had 38 assists and hit 21 3-pointers in leading wire-to-wire. Kevin Durant finished with 27 points and Draymond Green was a plus-41 as he had 13 assists to go with four points.
Malik Beasley finished with 22 points for the Nuggets. Big man Nikola Jokic struggled with early foul trouble, finishing with 17 points and eight assists in 23 minutes.
Denver knocked off Golden State 100-98 in Denver on October 21 thanks to Juancho Hernangomez blocking a layup at the buzzer. This version of the match-up was never close.
And this demonstrates just how dominant the Warriors were in the opening half: Denver scored 60, shooting 49 per cent from the floor, and still trailed by 19 at the break.
In pre game, the Nuggets deflected the notion this was a big game, but did acknowledge it was an important gauge.
'You always want to measure yourself against the best, let's be honest,' Denver coach Michael Malone said. 'That allows you to truly see where you're at and how much farther you have to go.'
It didn't go well.
For the Warriors, the match up was just business as usual.
'It doesn't mean anything until the end of the year,' Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. 'They all count.'