On Sunday, Stephen Curry reminded the NBA he was a back-to-back MVP before Kevin Durant decided to sign with the Golden State Warriors.
With Durant out due to a left ankle sprain, Curry dominated the Brooklyn Nets. It led to a 118-111 win for the Dubs.
Curry finished with 39 points and 11 rebounds. He scored 22 in the first half in an attempt to set the tone with Durant out.
“It’s 25, 26 points that are missing and you’ve got to try to put pressure on the defense to kind of honor your scoring threat and open up the floor for everyone else,” Curry explained to reporters.
Curry struggled with fouls and turnovers. He was disqualified with about three minutes remaining and had seven offensive miscues to go with seven assists.
Klay Thompson and Shaun Livingston combined to ensure the game wouldn’t get away from the Warriors after Curry was sent to the bench. Thompson and Livingston were responsible for the final 11 Golden State points of the game, keeping the Nets at bay.
“When [the Nets] make shots, they’re pretty tough. That’s what they did in the second half to try and get back in it,” Curry said. “But we kept our composure and just found a way to win the game. … A win is a win.”
Omri Casspi started in place of Durant and played a season-high 23 minutes. He also tied his best mark for 2017 with eight rebounds.
Thompson was more active on the boards than ever before as he set a new career-high with 10 to complement his 23 points.
Kevon Looney continued to validate the number of minutes Kerr is giving him on a nightly basis with another strong performance. He played an efficient 12 minutes, scoring four points while grabbing four rebounds and blocking three shots.
The Warriors improved to 2-1 while playing in the second night of a back-to-back and they’ll get a couple days off before playing another emotional game at Oklahoma City, where Durant played for most of his career, on Wednesday.