ATLANTA — The Golden State Warriors reached 50 wins faster than any team in NBA history.
Doesn’t mean more than that to this group.
With their eyes on more than regular-season records, the Warriors improved to 50-5 as Stephen Curry scored 36 points and Golden State bounced back after squandering a 23-point lead to beat the Atlanta Hawks 102-92 on Monday night.
The Warriors eclipsed the mark set by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, who needed one more game to win their 50th. Of course, that’s the team Golden State is chasing, moving another step closer to the record 72-10 mark put up by Michael Jordan & Co. at the height of their six-titles-in-eight-years dynasty.
"Fifty wins is great," Curry said, "but we’ve got to keep plugging away and staying hungry, because nobody wants to talk about that in June."
Curry and the defending NBA champions appeared headed for a rout against the struggling Hawks, pushing out to a 70-47 lead approaching the midway point of the third quarter. Atlanta closed the period on a 28-6 run and grabbed the lead briefly early in the fourth, igniting the sellout crowd.
But the Warriors would not be denied, bouncing back to hand the Hawks their fourth straight home loss.
"I liked our response," coach Steve Kerr said. "They were on fire in their home building. Everything was going against us, and we maintained our poise and pulled away down the stretch. It was a really good win."
Klay Thompson added 27 points for the Warriors. Both he and Curry knocked down five shots from 3-point range. Draymond Green didn’t do much offensively, scoring only six points, but he had 14 rebounds and nine assists.
Al Horford led the Hawks with 23 points.
"The third quarter is something we can hopefully build off of," said Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer, whose team had the top record in the Eastern Conference a year ago but has slipped all the way to sixth this season.
Curry put on a clinic in the first half, thoroughly dominating Hawks point guard Jeff Teague.
Perhaps the best sequence came when Curry swished a towering 3-pointer from the corner, the ball seeming to disappear into the rafters of Philips Arena at the height of its arc. Then, after posing briefly in front of the Golden State bench, he hustled back to the other end to draw an offensive foul on Teague, who looked befuddled by what he was seeing.
At the end of the half, with the clock running down and Teague right in his face, Curry somehow found just enough space to knock down another amazing jumper from the corner, though this one with his foot on the stripe.
Someone on the Golden State bench threw a white towel high in the air — partly to celebrate, partly in disbelief.
The Hawks could’ve thrown in the towel early in the third.
Instead, Atlanta finally showed some fight against the league’s best team, making five 3-pointers and nearly 60 per cent of its shots in the period.
The Warriors regained control in the fourth, helped by Curry’s 3 that left him wiggling his shoulders in front of the Atlanta bench.
"He senses when he needs to take over," Kerr said.
SHARING THE BALL
Golden State had 30 assists in a game for the 29th time this season, a franchise record.
The previous mark was set last season on the way to the championship.
In addition to Green’s team-high assists, Curry doled out eight, Andrew Bogut had four and Thompson chipped in with three.
"It’s a special group," Curry said.
Warriors: Improved to 45-0 when leading after the third quarter. It looked as though the Hawks would have the lead heading to the fourth, but a video review showed Thabo Sefolosha’s jumper left his hand a split-second after the clock expired, leaving Golden State ahead 76-75. … Bogut played 29 minutes with a strained right Achilles, grabbing 11 rebounds. … Newly signed Anderson Varejao watched the game from the Warriors bench but didn’t play. He was signed after being cut last week by Portland.
Hawks: Have lost four straight home games for the first time since March 21 to April 1, 2007, according to STATS. … Tim Hardaway Jr. had some effective spurts off the bench, scoring 12 points. … Atlanta made 10 of 34 from 3-point range and is 19 of 75 from beyond the arc in its last two games.
Warriors: Travel to Miami to face the Heat on Wednesday.
Hawks: Host the Chicago Bulls on Friday.