Stephen Curry’s mild slump hasn’t slowed down the Golden State Warriors one bit.
With a chance to tie the best start in franchise history, the defending NBA champions visit a struggling Memphis Grizzlies team they’ve dominated of late Wednesday night.
Though Curry has cooled off some after a scorching six-game opening stretch, shooting a modest 41.7 percent while totaling 46 points over the past two, the Warriors haven’t stopped winning. Despite the reigning league MVP finishing 7 of 18 from the field Monday against Detroit, Golden State moved to 8-0 with a 109-95 victory sparked by backcourt mate Klay Thompson and a strong bench effort.
Thompson delivered 24 points on 10-of-17 shooting and reserves Andre Iguodala and Leandro Barbosa combined for 23 while helping the Warriors pull away in the fourth quarter. Andrew Bogut returned from a six-game absence caused by a concussion to contribute eight points and nine rebounds in 19 minutes.
”Our second unit is, we feel, the best in the NBA,” interim coach Luke Walton said. ”We’ve got veterans on that unit that know how to win. When they give us that type of performance it just makes us that much more dangerous.”
Prior to going 2 for 10 on 3-pointers in a 24-point outing Saturday at Sacramento, Curry had scored 30 or more in four straight. That included 30 in just three quarters as the Warriors dealt Memphis (3-5) its worst defeat in club history, a 119-69 drubbing in Oakland on Nov. 2.
A win Wednesday would match the 1960-61 Philadelphia Warriors as the franchise’s only teams to begin 9-0.
That aforementioned loss started a tough five-game road trip in which the Grizzlies dropped the final three, most recently coming up just short in Monday’s 94-92 setback to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Memphis did hold the Clippers to 41.2 percent shooting after limiting Utah to 41.9 in an 89-79 loss Saturday. Opponents shot 47.7 percent over the Grizzlies’ first six games.
”If we play like that, keep playing like that, we’ll get back to our old selves," forward Zach Randolph said Monday. "A loss is a loss but we’ve got to take the positives, the energy, the defense, the things we did well.”
Memphis continues to have trouble making shots, ranking near the bottom of the league in scoring (91.0) and field goal percentage (40.5). The Grizzlies were 3 for 23 on 3-pointers and shot 27.1 percent overall in the last meeting with Golden State.
Offensive consistency also was an issue during Memphis’ six-game loss to the Warriors in last season’s Western Conference semifinals. The Grizzlies were held to 95 points or less in all four defeats and shot 38.2 percent in dropping the final three matchups.
Curry was 8 of 13 on 3s while amassing 32 points and 10 assists in the clinching Game 6 at FedExForum.
The Warriors have won five of the last six regular-season meetings between the clubs as well, including two of three in Memphis after a nine-game skid there.
Memphis, which last lost four straight Dec. 19-26, will play 10 of its next 14 at home.
The Grizzlies could have new player in the mix after acquiring veteran point guard Mario Chalmers from Miami on Tuesday. They also received little-used guard James Ennis while sending Beno Udrih and Jarnell Stokes to the Heat.