PHOENIX (AP) " The NBA regular season belongs to the Golden State Warriors " again.
The high-speed Bay Area dynamo needed 42 points from Stephen Curry to hold off the pesky Phoenix Suns 120-111 Thursday night, a victory that ensured Golden State would have the best record in the NBA for the third straight season.
"Yeah, it's impressive," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "We have had a great run."
The Warriors won their season-best 13th straight game, all of them without the injured Kevin Durant.
Getting the top playoff seed was "a goal that we set going into the season," Curry said, "to make sure the regular season mattered for us, to clinch that, and we did."
With Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala resting and Durant one game away from returning from injury, the Warriors prevailed in front of a noisy crowd.
"I think our guys enjoy the position we are in. They know it is a special era that is not going to last forever," Kerr said. "We have a special group of talented players at the same time, so we are trying to enjoy every moment."
Curry scored 23 in the first quarter when the Warriors blew open a 41-18 lead, but the Suns rallied with a 34-17 second quarter and made a game of it from there.
"I think we got mesmerized as a team," Kerr said. "We were so enamored with what Steph was doing that we kind of stopped playing to start the second quarter."
Golden State became the first team have the NBA's best record for three consecutive seasons since the Boston Celtics did it in 1983-84, '84-'85 and '85-'86. The Warriors, Boston " multiple times " and Philadelphia are the only franchises in NBA history to achieve that feat.
The Warriors also are the first team to win at least 65 games in three straight seasons.
Klay Thompson scored 22 for the Warriors, including a critical late 3-pointer.
With the Spurs' loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Warriors are 65-14, 4 1/2 games ahead of San Antonio. Golden State has three games to play, San Antonio four.
The Warriors raced to that 23-point lead after one quarter, but Phoenix outscored Golden State 34-17 in the second quarter to cut it to 58-52 at the break.
Golden State led by 13 entering the fourth quarter.
But the Suns, with the worst record in the West and second-worst in the NBA, didn't fold.
A 10-0 Phoenix run sliced Golden State's advantage to 104-101 on Ulis' 20-footer with 5:01 to play. Curry responded with his eighth and final 3-pointer, but the Suns twice cut it to four again " the last at 109-105 after Ulis made a pair of free throws 2:29 from the finish.
Thompson's 3, only his second in nine tries, made it 112-107 and Phoenix never got closer than five again.
Durant is targeting a Saturday night at home against the New Orleans Pelicans for his return from a sprained MCL and bruised thigh.
This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings