Curry key flavor as Warriors beat Lakers

ORACLE ARENA — Buoyed by a 12-point, first-quarter lead, the playoff-bound Warriors hit the gas pedal and never looked back, leaving the injury-riddled Lakers behind in a cloud of dust for most of the game.

Although Stephen Curry suffered a mild sprained right ankle against the Wizards, it didn’t stop him from playing. The Warriors’ point guard led five players in double figures with 25 points and 10 assists as Golden State beat Los Angeles 109-103.

The Warriors stalled in the fourth quarter after nearly running away with the game, leading by 18 points after three quarters. But Golden State scored only 15 points in the final period on 5-of-19 shooting (26 percent).

Still, the Dubs had built up enough of a lead that they were able to stave off Kobe Bryant and the Lakers for the team’s 41st victory, ensuring them of at least their first .500 season since 2008.

Curry has his sights aimed higher as the Warriors’ whittle down their magic number to clinch a playoff berth to just six:

Warriors guard Stephen Curry

“Hopefully we’ll be a lot better than that (41 wins).  At least .500, that’s nice to hear. That’s a big step forward and this is meaningful, not only to taste the playoffs for the first time but from where we were in my rookie year, to see the changes that have been made it’s pretty special.”

Golden State appeared to be firing on all cylinders. David Lee had another double-double with 23 points and 12 rebounds while Klay Thompson added 22 points including six 3-pointers.

Jarrett Jack had 19 points off the bench as the Warriors improved to 2-0 on this five-game homestand.

Lee acknowledged Curry’s key role in the Warriors’ offense, adding that it was nice to see him play even though he could have sat out the game:

Warriors forward David Lee

“We’ve all had a couple of games this year where we’ve had that option and decided to play and Steph has had in the past couple of years, plenty of games that he’s missed and I know that its really bothered him and it’s out of his control. And so I know when he has the option to play he’s going to do it. He’s a very tough kid, he’s one of our leaders and he had a tremendous game tonight.”

Meanwhile, the tumultuous season for the Lakers continues.

Future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant poured in a game-high 36 points while Steve Nash added 21 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists. Dwight Howard chipped in 11 points and 15 rebounds but the Lakers have lost three straight.

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant

“We’ve just got to push through it. We were playing pretty well but now obviously we’re in a little skid but a lot of it had to do with me coming out of the lineup and then Pau (Gasol) coming back and it took us out of our rhythm a little bit but we’ll find it again.”

Trudging through a drama-filled campaign with injuries, the firing of head coach Mike Brown, and the mediocre 36-35 record of the team, Los Angeles is on the verge of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2005.

The Lakers currently lead the Utah Jazz by one game for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.

Notes

The Warriors ended a six-game losing streak to the Lakers. It was only the fifth win by the Warriors over the Lakers in the last 33 games. … Former Warrior Baron Davis was at the game and made a visit to the locker room. He helped guide the W’s to their last playoff appearance in 2007. … There was only one lead change Monday, when Golden State took a 7-6 lead with 7:47 left in the first quarter and held it for the remaining 43:47 of the game.