Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James had no choice but to offer up praise to the Golden State Warriors after the NBA champions were thrashed 126-91.
The result afforded the Warriors a small dose of revenge after they lost in the NBA Finals to the Cavaliers last year, with Stephen Curry posting 20 points and 11 assists in a double-double at Oracle Arena on Monday.
James, who committed six turnovers in an uncharacteristically poor display, said afterwards: "They put it on us, they put it on us real good.
"They played a hell of a game and they were clicking in all facets of the game."
The 12-time NBA All-Star was floored in the second quarter by Draymond Green, but James - who in the build-up to the game insisted the two sides were not rivals - played down the incident, which halted a Cavs break.
"His shoulder hit me in the face," said the 32-year-old. "It happened so fast I didn't even know who it was. But I'm all right. I'm a football player."
Curry was pleased to see his side thrive under pressure, citing a fast start as key to their success.
"You can feel the atmosphere when you get out there," he said. "Every time you play a team like Cleveland or other top teams in the league, you know it's going to take an A-plus game to get a win, and a lot of energy, physicality and focus.
"We sensed that early in the game and we grabbed the momentum and never really let it go."