The Golden State Warriors have lots of reasons to be feeling good heading into the midpoint of a seven-game road swing: They have a seven-game winning streak, they just cruised by the two-time reigning NBA champions and Stephen Curry is coming off one of his best all-around games of the season.
They now try to avoid a letdown Friday night in Atlanta, where the Hawks are trying to extend their home winning streak to six games.
Golden State (21-13) worked over the Heat in Miami on Wednesday night, rolling to a 123-114 victory as it shot 56.1 percent and matched a season high with 15 3-pointers. Curry hit eight of those shots from beyond the arc, finishing with 36 points on 13-of-22 shooting, while also contributing 12 assists and four steals.
'One of the best shooters this NBA will see,' Heat star LeBron James said. 'I mean, if you can find a better shooter than him right now, especially with the way he handles the ball - and the light that he has, it's more than green, it's fluorescent - you just hope that he misses.'
While Curry did his damage from the outside, Lee picked apart the Heat in the paint, totaling 32 points while going 13 for 17 and pulling down 14 rebounds. He has averaged 22.9 points on 59.6 percent shooting and 9.6 rebounds in the seven victories - the Warriors' longest win streak since an eight-game run from March 25-April 8, 2005.
'It's a good experience against a championship-caliber team,' said Curry, who had only shot 35.4 percent in the first six games of Golden State's winning streak. 'They know how to get it done so to come in here and play the way we did, it shows we're on the right path.'
Golden State is also trying to win five straight on the road for the second straight season after doing so from Dec. 5-12, 2012.
Atlanta (18-14), though, figures to provide a stiff challenge as it bids for its first six-game run at home since Jan. 7-21, 2012. The Hawks have won six of eight overall following a 92-91 victory Tuesday at Boston, where Paul Millsap helped rally them from an 18-point deficit with season highs of 34 points and 15 rebounds.
'At the beginning of the game it wasn't really what they were doing. It's what we didn't do. We didn't execute well. We didn't share the basketball like we normally do,' Millsap said. 'When we settled down, got stops and moved the basketball around, everybody got in a groove.'
Millsap has become the interior focal point for the Hawks after they lost Al Horford, who is out for the season after surgery to repair a complete tear of his right pectoral muscle. In the three games without Horford, Millsap has averaged 28.0 points on 51.0 percent shooting and 11.7 rebounds.
The veteran forward is plenty familiar with the Warriors after spending his first seven seasons with Utah in the Western Conference, averaging 11.8 points and 8.4 rebounds in 25 lifetime games against them.
Kyle Korver, who barely extended his NBA-record streak of consecutive games with a 3-pointer to 101 after going 1 for 6 at Boston, is a 34.3 percent lifetime shooter (35 for 102) from beyond the arc versus the Warriors - his lowest mark against any team. He's a career 42.3 percent 3-point shooter.
The Warriors have won three straight over the Hawks, including a 115-93 rout in Atlanta on Dec. 15, 2012, as Lee had 20 points and 11 rebounds while Curry contributed 18 points and 11 assists.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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