OAKLAND — Stephen Curry sauntered toward the bench just inside the final two minutes of the third quarter on Wednesday night. Shaun Livingston’s layup had just pushed the Golden State Warriors’ lead to 18, inducing Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau to call timeout.
Curry stopped short of the huddle, rose both arms into the air and beckoned to the crowd as the cheers rained down.
The Warriors played without the Finals MVP — Kevin Durant (left thigh contusion) — and the two-time MVP poured in 22 points as the home team blew past the upstart Wolves, 125-101. Curry added eight rebounds, eight assists and two blocks, as the club won for the fifth time in as many games.
“It’s just stunning really, the impact he makes,” head coach Steve Kerr marveled. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
After outscoring their guests 44-26 in the third, the Warriors bolted out to a 95-76 lead at the close of the quarter. Curry scored eight points and handed out six assists during the 12-minute burst.
Heading into the break, the Warriors were clinging to a 51-50 advantage after a disjointed and sloppy opening 24 minutes, especially on the offensive end.
The club committed 13 turnovers, but also managed to dish out 16 assists, on the way to closing the night with 37 dimes.
The Warriors had begun the game in rugged fashion, totaling just 22 points — on a 36.4 percent field-goal percentage — in the opening quarter. Iguodala, who closed the night with 11 points, was the improbable high-point man with seven.
‘Peaking? That’s ridiculous to say, bro’
When Draymond Green, who finished with seven points, six rebounds, six assists and two blocks, was asked if Curry is peaking, the Defensive Player of the Year responded incredulously.
“Peaking?” Green asked repeatedly.
“Peaking? That’s just ridiculous to say, bro.”
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) November 9, 2017
All hands on deck
Kerr emptied his bench early, calling on six substitutes by the start of the second quarter. JaVale McGee, Nick Young, Shaun Livingston and Omri Casspi all played in the first, while David West and Patrick McCaw started the second quarter. Kevon Looney also got six minutes of second-quarter run, leaving Jordan Bell as the lone Dub anchored to the bench.
Bell eventually found his way into the game, playing the final 5:30 of the rout.
Kerr pointed out that it can be beneficial for the team at large to make do without a superstar like Durant on a given night.
“It’s good for the team. It’s good for the morale,” Kerr. “It’s good for individual development and it forces the group to play together.”
Happy birthday Al
During a second-quarter timeout, Oracle Arena serenaded Al Attles with a rendition of happy birthday and treated him to a thunderous applause. Attles, who’s known as “The Destroyer,” and who’s been with the organization for 58 seasons, celebrated his 81st birthday on Tuesday
“That was great,” Kerr said. “I loved hearing the crowd sing to him. That was one of the best moments of the night.”