OAKLAND, Calif. — The Golden State Warriors attempted more 3-point shots than two-pointers Friday night.
Yes, the record-setting squad is finding even more ways to win.
Klay Thompson bombed in nine 3-pointers to account for a majority of his 40 points, and the Warriors outgunned the short-handed Dallas Mavericks from beyond the arc en route to a surprisingly difficult 128-120 victory.
On a night when they presented a championship ring to David Lee, one of their most productive interior scorers in recent years, the Warriors rode their perimeter prowess to a 52nd consecutive home-court victory.
With Thompson hitting nine and backcourt sidekick Stephen Curry adding five, the Warriors shot 21-for-45 from 3-point range.
The 45 attempts were two more than the 43 two-pointers they tried, making them just the sixth team to win an NBA game this season under those circumstances.
“Pretty sweet,” Thompson said of the 3-point assault. “The game is kinda changing, and we’re on the forefront of that. Our shooting is second to none.”
The 17th of the Warriors’ 21 successes came with 9:51 to go in the game and was their 934th of the year, allowing them to surpass the previous single-season record set by the Houston Rockets last season.
“I never put a number on how many 3’s we take,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr admitted. “We took more 3’s than 2’s tonight. That doesn’t bother me, as long as we’re taking good ones.”
Thompson and Curry (33) combined for 73 points, helping Golden State (65-7) remain four games ahead of the San Antonio Spurs (61-11) for top seeding in the Western Conference playoffs.
The Warriors already have clinched the home-court advantage in the NBA Finals should they get that far for a second consecutive year.
Lee, who helped the Warriors win their first championship since 1975 last season before getting dealt to the Boston Celtics over the summer, had 12 points, nine rebounds and a team-high six assists in his first return as an opponent this season.
“It was amazing,” Lee said of two pregame standing ovations he received. “It was a great night overall despite the loss. It’s a night I won’t forget.”
Lee played 24 minutes in large part because Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle chose to rest veteran stars Dirk Nowitzki and Deron Williams with a winnable back-to-back upcoming Sunday and Monday in Sacramento and Denver.
The loss dropped the Mavericks (35-37) behind the Houston Rockets (36-37), who won Friday night, and into a tie with the Utah Jazz (35-37) for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.
“We’ve shown that we can compete with everybody in the league,” Carlisle assessed. “The important thing now is getting (to the playoffs). The next 10 games are going to tell the story.”
The Mavericks trailed by as many as 18 points before rallying within 102-94 by scoring the first five points of the fourth quarter.
Thompson’s record-setting 3-pointer made it a double-figure margin again, but Mavericks reserve Charlie Villanueva countered with three 3’s, the third of which narrowed the Dallas deficit to 116-113 with still 3:18 to play.
The Mavericks finished with 18 3’s, combining with the Warriors for 39, another NBA record for a single game.
Dallas never caught up, however, as Harrison Barnes hit a turnaround jumper, Curry dropped in a layup and the Warriors held on from there to beat the Mavericks for the 10th time in their last 11 meetings and clinch a fourth straight season-season win.
“It was one of the strangest games we’ve had this year when you look at the stats,” Kerr analyzed. “We beat them 47-1 on fast-break points and had seven turnovers. If you tell me that before the game, I tell you we win by 30.”
The nine 3’s by Thompson pushed his season total to 246, which bested his previous career-high of 239 set last season.
Also, the Warriors won for the 34th consecutive time when Thompson has scored 25 or more points, another NBA record. Guard Gail Goodrich of the Los Angeles Lakers had established the previous record of 30 during the 1971-72 season.
Thompson has averaged 41.3 points in three games against the Mavericks this season, hitting 41-for-67 from the field, 26-for-45 on 3’s, and 16-for-17 from the free throw line.
He was on such a roll Friday, even Curry passed up an open 3-pointer to feed Thompson, who already had started running back on defense with three fingers in the air.
“He thought I had the hot hand,” Thompson noted. “Lesson learned. Make the 3, then celebrate.”
Draymond Green complemented the Warriors’ guard-heavy output with 19 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds. Barnes made it four Warriors starters in double figures with 11 points.
Wesley Matthews paced a balanced Dallas attack with 26 points, which included six 3-pointers.
The Mavericks were even more accurate on their 3’s than the Warriors, making 18 of 35 (51.4 percent).
J.J. Barea had 21 points, Raymond Felton 17 and Villanueva 16 for Dallas, which lost for the ninth time in its last 11 games, a stretch that includes a 130-112 home loss to Warriors last Friday.
Zaza Pachulia grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds to go with 12 points off the bench for the Mavericks.
NOTES: Mavericks PF David Lee played 327 games for the Warriors, averaging 16.7 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists. His replacement — PF Draymond Green — took the court Friday having averaged 8.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.3 assists in his first 310 games for Golden State. … The Mavericks fell to 4-3 in games played without PF Dirk Nowitzki, 5-5 without PG Deron Williams, and 1-2 with both out of the lineup. … The previous record for combined 3’s made in a game was 37, set earlier this month in a game between the Warriors (18) and Portland Trail Blazers (19). … The Warriors also won at Atlanta on Feb. 22 when attempting more 3-pointers than 2’s.