MINNEAPOLIS — Stephen Curry dribbled across midcourt in the third quarter and went into a trademark crouch as he started to break down Andre Miller.
As Curry rose to take the shot, the 39-year-old Miller somehow got a hand on the ball and jarred it loose. The reigning MVP still managed to gather himself in the air and fire a one-handed, shot-put style 3-pointer that splashed through.
“I was still kind of in rhythm,” Curry said with a smirk. “It was just kind of a low release.”
Curry scored 46 points, 21 in the first quarter, and the Warriors improved to 10-0 on the season with a 129-116 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday night.
Nothing the defending champions have seen this season has been able to throw them off as they have surged to the best start in franchise history.
Curry hit 15 of 25 shots, including 8 of 13 3-pointers, in another breathtaking performance. Draymond Green had 23 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds for the Warriors, who are the fourth defending champion to start the season with at least 10 straight wins.
“When you get up on him, he just shoots the ball from farther,” said Timberwolves forward Shabazz Muhammad, who scored 16 points. “It looked like he was shooting it from dang near halfcourt.”
Karl-Anthony Towns had 17 points and 11 rebounds and Andrew Wiggins scored 19 points for the Timberwolves (4-4), who have lost all four home games this season. Ricky Rubio missed his second straight game with a strained left hamstring.
The Warriors went 18 for 38 from 3-point range while Minnesota was just 3 for 9.
The Warriors opened defense of their title as emphatically as possible, using potshots from the likes of the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers as fuel while blowing the doors off the league.
Curry has led the charge, shooting with a precision and range never before seen in this league. A human heat check, Curry has broken the league record for 3-pointers made in a season in each of the last two years, and is on pace to smash it again this year. He has topped 40 points in a game three times this season and his 52 3s are more than three teams have made all season.
One night after scoring 28 in a win over Memphis, he was 4 for 5 from deep in the first quarter and pushed theWarriors to a 10-0 lead before the game was 90 seconds old.
“It seems like those guys, when you make a mistake, they punish you,” Wolves interim coach Sam Mitchell said.
Last year Russell Westbrook led the NBA with four 20-point quarters. Curry already has four in 10 games. He hit consecutive 3-pointers in the third quarter, one from 3 feet behind the arc for a 97-76 lead.
But the Timberwolves didn’t go away, ripping off an 18-2 run to pull within five early in the fourth quarter.
Curry followed with a 3 and a pull-up jumper and Klay Thompson buried another 3 from the corner to push the lead back to double digits.
“He’s always in attack mode,” interim coach Luke Walton said, “and he’s definitely playing at an MVP level again right now.”
Warriors guard Leandro Barbosa left the team to fly home to Brazil for a family matter. Walton said Barbosa is expected to return to the team by Monday.
The Celtics in 1957-58 and 1964-65 and the Bulls in 1996-97 are the other defending champs to start with at least 10 straight wins.
Green entered the game leading the team with 6.0 assists per game. He was dishing it all over the place again, feasting on 4-on-3 situations created after the Wolves would try to trap Curry. “He’ll tell you he’s the best passer on the team. That’s a lie,” Walton deadpanned. “But he’s up there. He’s in the top five.”