Stephen Curry scores 34 points, leads Warriors past Nets
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) With the start of the playoffs just more than a month away, the defending champions are still trying to find consistency for 48 minutes.
Nobody is overly concerned. Not yet. Not with this superstar roster capable of scoring in bunches even after the mind-boggling stretches on both ends that are far from pretty.
”Right now you can pretty much smell the playoffs coming,” Curry said. ”I think we understand that we are a talented team and we have championship pedigree. We understand what it takes to win a championship but you can’t just turn on the switch of every single detail that needs to go into being the team we want to be come April. So, enough talking really about that, it’s just going out and actually doing it and executing and building those habits and the right expectation night in, night out to get ourselves ready for five weeks from now.”
Kevin Durant added 19 points and six rebounds as the Warriors reached 50 wins for the fifth straight season.
”I didn’t expect to come out blazing given that we were coming off the trip and a couple days off,” coach Steve Kerr said.
D’Angelo Russell had 22 points for the Nets, who hung tough through three quarters but couldn’t last. They lost by three points at the Clippers on Sunday.
Curry sure didn’t seem to be slowed down a bit after the two-time MVP tweaked his troublesome right ankle Friday at Atlanta. He was fine at practice Monday after two days off. Curry scored 11 straight points during a 25-0 run that turned a 14-10 deficit into a 35-14 lead late in the opening quarter.
The Nets came roaring back in a cold, 13-point second quarter by Golden State and took a 53-48 lead into halftime. The Warriors shot 6 for 18 in the second.
”The best team in the world,” Russell said. ”They struggle a little bit and then they figure it out and then they attack it.”
Draymond Green’s 3-pointer from the top with 9:43 to play put the Warriors up 93-81. Green wound up with 16 points, nine assists and five rebounds while committing six turnovers.
Klay Thompson struggled to find his shooting touch early, scoring 18 points and finally making his first 3-pointer with 3:55 to play. He dished out five assists.
Thompson needs two more 3-pointers to reach 200 or more 3s for the sixth straight time, which would tie Curry for an NBA record of most such seasons with 200 or more 3s – and also for doing it in successive years. Ray Allen has the second-most seasons with 200-plus 3s in NBA history at five.
Warriors rookie forward Jordan Bell landed awkwardly on his right ankle and sprained it trying to block a shot by Russell with 8.4 seconds left in the third and hobbled to the bench, grimacing in pain. X-rays were negative and the injury wasn’t considered serious.
Bell, who scored five early points, had just made a one-game appearance with Santa Cruz in the G League. He recently missed 14 games with a left ankle injury.
Curry became the seventh player in Warriors history to make 5,000 career field goals. The others: Wilt Chamberlain, Rick Barry, Chris Mullin, Paul Arizin, Jeff Mullins and Nate Thurmond.
Nets: Brooklyn allowed Golden State to score 28 points off the Nets’ 16 turnovers. … After making 19 of 45 3-pointers – going 8 for 15 in the fourth quarter – while squandering a 118-110 lead with 3:11 left to the Clippers, the Nets struggled from deep this time at 9 for 34. … C Jahlil Okafor, who was available Sunday but didn’t play after missing five games with the flu, again didn’t see action.
Warriors: C David West missed the game with a cyst in his right arm. … Andre Iguodala went over 13,000 points for his career. … Golden State won a sixth straight vs. Brooklyn and also sixth consecutive at Oracle. … The Warriors are 23-3 against the Eastern Conference, including 10-2 at home.
JaVale McGee had 12 points and five rebounds making his sixth straight start in place of Zaza Pachulia and the Warriors improved to 10-0 this season in games when he’s out for the opening tipoff.
Kerr made the change but isn’t committing for the long haul.
”Nothing is set in stone at that position,” he said. ”JaVale has done a good job. We kind of played center by committee here for a while now and there is no telling how the rotations will work. It’s based on matchups and based on how things are going, but I will definitely lean on all those guys at some point.”
Kerr has liked Pachulia’s production off the bench yet will continue to go with rotations based on matchups.
Nets: At Charlotte on Thursday.
Warriors: Host Spurs on Thursday, going for a fourth straight win against San Antonio after 122-105 home victory Feb. 10.
More NBA basketball: https://apnews.com/tags/NBAbasketball