Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors weren't trying to send any sort of message or make any kind of statement against a team they were chasing in the Western Conference.
"They know who we are," Durant said.
Still, message received.
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson each scored 31 points as the Warriors, propelled by an NBA-record 51-point first quarter, regained the top spot in the West by routing the Denver Nuggets 142-111 on Tuesday night.
"Beautiful, beautiful basketball," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "Just liked the way our guys moved the ball, the shot fakes, playing with purpose, playing with a simple style of execution but aggressive at the same time. Finding that balance is always what we're looking for. That was as good as it gets for us.
"I don't remember a better first quarter. That was a fireworks show."
Golden State cruised to a fifth consecutive victory and moved a half-game in front of the Nuggets, whose 12-game home winning streak ended.
The showdown between the top two teams in the conference proved a little too big for the host Nuggets.
"They came in with an edge and we didn't have that edge to start the game," Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. "I don't think anybody on our team is scared of the Golden State Warriors or too respectful. They took it to another level and left us in the dust."
Milwaukee 124, Miami, 86: Giannis Antetokounmpo had 12 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in his fourth triple-double of the season, and the host Bucks cruised past the visiting Heat. Eric Bledsoe had 17 points and Malcolm Brogdon added 16 for Milwaukee, which has won 13 of 16 dating to Dec. 14. The Bucks improved to 31-12, second-best in the NBA.
Atlanta 142, Oklahoma City 126: Trae Young had 24 points and 11 assists to win the showdown of past and former Atlanta point guards, leading the Hawks over the Thunder. Former Hawks point guard Dennis Schroder scored 21 points in his return to Atlanta.
Indiana 131, Phoenix, 97: Bojan Bogdanovic scored 20 points and the host Pacers cruised to a victory over the Suns. Myles Turner returned for the first time in four games to finish with 18 points.
L.A. Lakers 107, Chicago 100: Lonzo Ball scored 19 points, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 17 and the Lakers won for just the fourth time since LeBron James' groin injury, beating the visiting Bulls.