OAKLAND — Less than four minutes into the Golden State Warriors’ 144-98 mauling of the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night, Stephen Curry pulled up from 29 feet and splashed a 3-pointer.
The triple from the back-to-back MVP served as a warning shot of what was to come on a night Curry went for 43 points in 29 minutes, hitting 9 of his 15 long-range efforts.
When Curry had arrived at Oracle Arena earlier in the afternoon, he was nursing a sore left quad and was a question mark for the game.
“I was pretty confident [I’d play] from the time I woke up, just that optimism,” Curry explained. “But you don’t really know until you get out on the court and test it out. And it was all good to go.”
None of Curry’s nine 3-pointers were more impressive than the 51-footer he sank from the midcourt logo, as the buzzer sounded on the Warriors’ 72-point first half.
“I was directly behind [him],” recalled Draymond Green. “And once he let the ball go, I knew it was going in. It was a pretty spectacular play.”
Even after draining his longest shot of the season to send the crowd into an uproar, Curry managed to raise his level in the second half.
Curry hit five 3-pointers in the third quarter on his way to dropping 25 points — the most he’s scored in any quarter this season.
“I don’t know, [but] people write this like, ‘Steph gonna Steph?’ What does that mean?” said head coach Steve Kerr. “I don’t know. I’ve read it. Well, whatever that means, I think that’s what happened.”
Kerr credited the team’s strong defensive showing early on for sparking the explosive offensive showing. The coach singled out a sequence late in the second quarter when Green blocked Blake Griffin decisively before racing down the floor to finish the play with an emphatic, two-hand slam.
“I thought Draymond was tremendous tonight. His numbers aren’t going to wow anybody,” Kerr said of the two-time All-Star who went for 5 points, 5 boards and 5 assists. “But he’s +34. His defense was phenomenal and I thought that block that he had on Blake in the first half was one of the key plays of the game just to fuel us.”Draymond GreenGolden State WarriorsLos Angeles ClippersNBAStephen CurrySteve Kerr