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Steph Curry, Warriors barrel past 76ers thanks to explosive 3rd quarter

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Steve Kerr and Stephen Curry. (Stan Olszewski/Special to S.F. Examiner)
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The Golden State Warriors outscored the Philadelphia 76ers by 32 points in the third quarter on Saturday night, propelling the club to a 124-116 win.

In the come-from-behind victory, Stephen Curry scored a game-high 35 points, while Kevin Durant added 27.

Asked to explain the third-quarter turnaround, which saw a 22-point deficit morph into a 10-point lead, head coach Steve Kerr said he believed his club’s ego had been bruised.

“I think [it was] just the embarrassment of how we played in the first half,” Kerr told reporters. “We just didn’t compete. I think our guys just felt like they had to get out there and start playing and they did.”

The comeback effort marked the fifth time during Kerr’s reign that his club has rallied for a 20-point comeback. The Warriors have delivered four double-digit comebacks through the opening month of 2017.

The third-quarter blitz was electric, even by the Warriors’ lofty standards. Curry was the engine, pouring in 20 points as the Warriors outscored the 76ers 47-15.  Before that barrage, the Warriors hadn’t outscored an opponent by 32 points in a single quarter since 1972. Curry sank four triples amid that run and dished out an assist to assistant coach Bruce Fraser after the win.

“I’ve got to shout out coach Q, Bruce Fraser,” Curry told NBC Sports Bay Area. “He was like my shooting whisperer tonight. He gave me a little pointer at one of one the timeouts and I knocked down four in a row.”

Kerr admitted that he’s no longer surprised by the outbursts that Curry continues to author.

“Not anymore,” Kerr said. “He did my first year here. I thought he was crazy for some of the shoots that he took. Now, every shot, [I say], ‘Good shot, Steph. Way to go.’”

The Warriors had trudged into the locker room staring at a 74-52 deficit after the 76ers pushed their advantage to as much as 24 points in the opening half.

The first quarter was especially ominous as the hosts hit 19-of-26 shots from the field and 8-of-26 from beyond the arc. The 47-point output marked not just the most the Warriors have allowed during the Kerr era, but the highest total for any quarter dating back to 1992.

Ice-cold start

The Warriors ugly opening 24 minutes featured an uncharacteristically poor performance from 3-point range. Curry and Durant went 0-for-6 as the team combined to shoot 1-for-9.

Another night at the office

In 36 minutes, Draymond Green scored eight points, handed out eight assists, corralled seven rebounds, blocked two shots and recorded one steal.

Backup bigs

Reserve big men David West and Kevon Looney were both instrumental in the second-half turnaround. West scored 14 points (7-for-8) and grabbed 7 rebounds in 13 minutes. Looney was the team’s plus-minus leader finishing plus-19 with five boards in 10 minutes.

“Kevon Looney was amazing tonight,” Curry said. “Just bringing his effort, his intensity, his physicality and just making plays. So he was a huge catalyst for us.”

kbuscheck@sfexaminer.com

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