The Golden State Warriors looked fallible on their home floor for the first time in ages Tuesday night, but Stephen Curry's absence wasn't enough to prevent the defending champions from inching closer to history.
In pursuit of the longest home winning streak the NBA has ever seen, the Warriors defeated the Atlanta Hawks, 109-105, in overtime at Oracle Arena to nab their 43rd straight victory in front of the Bay Area faithful.
Golden State (54-5) is now one win away from tying the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls' record of 44 straight home wins.
Working without Curry—who sat out after suffering a minor ankle injury Saturday against the Oklahoma City Thunder—the Warriors were led by an all-encompassing performance from Draymond Green, who nailed a miracle three-pointer to help ward off the Hawks.
Green finished the night with 15 points, 13 rebounds, nine assists and four steals, while Klay Thompson led the Warriors with 26 points on a shaky 8-of-27 shooting.
Golden State also received strong contributions from Leandro Barbosa (11 points) and Marreese Speights (10 points), but the Warriors' second unit was missing an extra dimension as Andre Iguodala sat out Tuesday's thriller with a hamstring injury.
The Hawks actually shot a far more efficient 46.3 percent from the field, compared to Golden State's mark of 39.8 percent, but 17 turnovers doomed head coach Mike Budenholzer's squad, as the Warriors capitalized on those giveaways to the tune of 18 points.
While Atlanta received solid efforts from Paul Millsap (19 points) and Al Horford (17 points), the Hawks couldn't overcome an 18-7 rebounding disparity on the offensive glass and the Warriors' 52-36 edge in paint scoring.
The Warriors offense didn't assume a particularly potent form with Curry and Iguodala sidelined, but Thompson and Barbosa did enough to keep Atlanta at arm's length, while Green played superb defense, per ESPN Stats & Info:
The Draymond Green impact:— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 2, 2016
Hawks shot 13-17 (77%) with Green on the bench tonight
They shot 38% with Green on the court
Golden State also did a remarkably good job taking care of the ball over the game's first 24 minutes without its best ball-handler. According to GSWStats on Twitter, the Warriors tied a season best with just three turnovers in the first half.
While Green's defense remained a constant throughout the game, as ESPN.com's Ethan Strauss noted, the Warriors didn't resemble the team that has run roughshod over opponents at Oracle Arena all season long:
Draymond's defense tonight deserves a highlight reel— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) March 2, 2016
After dropping 59 points in the first half thanks in large part to interior efficiency, per ESPN Stats & Info, the Warriors hit a wall and managed just 16 points in the third quarter:
Warriors are 2-of-17 on mid-range shots tonight ...— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 2, 2016
But they are 21-of-33 on everything else pic.twitter.com/UXSE9VHqtA
With the defending champions vulnerable, gassed and working without several key contributors, the Hawks saw an opening and took advantage.
Golden State's offense was sapped of seemingly any sort of rhythm throughout the fourth quarter. The Warriors passed up shots, hesitation permeated the minds of open shooters and the Hawks' stingy defense shut down open lanes for cutters.
Atlanta proceeded to rip off a 13-2 run midway through the fourth quarter, taking a three-point lead with just under six minutes to play, before a frantic back-and-forth down the stretch of regulation bought both sides a chance to collect themselves in the extra session.
Ultimately, a chance to recharge and rethink some strategy proved to be more beneficial for Golden State than it was for Atlanta.
As a result, the Warriors can breathe a sigh of relief and set their sights on history when they host the Thunder on Thursday for Round 3 of what's proved to be the Association's most compelling matchup all season long.
Just days removed from Saturday's thriller that left the NBA in awe of Curry's capabilities, the Warriors will have another chance to separate themselves as the class of the Western Conference.
The Hawks, meanwhile, will have an opportunity to bounce back Friday against the Los Angeles Lakers. And with two days off to ponder what went wrong in crunch time against the Warriors, don't be surprised if Atlanta shows no mercy against a developing Purple and Gold side.
NBA TV relayed footage of Thompson discussing how the Warriors remained resilient despite a relatively shaky shooting display:
Green, on the other hand, discussed a compliment head coach Steve Kerr paid to him, according to CSN Bay Area's Rosalyn Gold-Onwude:
Draymond Green just told me in postgame interview coach Kerr told him after game "you're a bad B--" he was proud.— Rosalyn Gold-Onwude (@ROSGO21) March 2, 2016
"Life without Steph, right?" Warriors general manager Bob Myers said, per the San Francisco Chronicle's Al Saracevic. "It was a gratifying win. But that was not easy. Steve (Kerr) does a nice job finding combinations. And a lot of the big plays were just effort plays. This game just shows Steph’s value."
"It was a terrific victory,” Kerr added, per Saracevic. "How hard our guys played was so evident. Throughout the game, we were competing. … I could go down the list, but every single guy who got out there contributed. It was a great team win."