As the first quarter expired Friday night, Stephen Curry launched a shot from the opposite free throw line — 75 feet down court — and through the net.
It didn’t count, just one tick short of beating the buzzer.
One second before halftime, Curry heaved a 45-footer from beyond the half-court line, off the backboard, and into the basket. That play — and Curry’s persistence — neatly sums up Golden State’s 122-110 win over the Indiana Pacers, with Steve Kerr returning to the Warriors’ helm for the first game this season.
The shot had every detail of one destined for a highlight reel. The focus, the obvious intent, and the accuracy. When Curry pulled up with a second to go, he took every moment to key in on the hoop. And when he let it rip, it was clear that Curry had made it.
“Two fun shots. I hadn’t hit one in awhile in a game. Not from that far since, I think it was last year. I don’t think I’ve ever made one after that. Funny how the first one went in and didn’t count, and felt pretty confident in the second one just because I had already done it once. Needed a little glass to help, but it went in.”
For awhile, though, it didn’t look like Curry would notch his 10th rebound to record his second triple double of the season. He eventually did.
Golden State (40-4) took an early 22-8 lead, dominating the first six minutes and leaving the Pacers dazed and confused, some players scratching their heads while they attempt to regroup.
The Pacers (23-20) found a way to come back and keep the game competitive before it was out of reach, but the results of their effort were futile, coming within eight points with 6:28 remaining in the first half, only to trail by 13 at the buzzer.
The Warriors rode that momentum all the way Friday night, matching the physicality Indiana brings while outpacing their big lineup like a race horse tracking a robotic rabbit.
And when Curry checked back in with 7:39 remaining, the writing plastered the floor as if coffee had been spilled and left to dry. Kerr said:
“It wasn’t our best stuff, but we got the job done. And all in all, I felt really good.”
Curry had been chasing his 10th rebound — the only thing between him and his second triple double of the season — for the better part of the second half.
He nearly had it when forward Paul George missed his second free throw with 6:52 on the clock, but was playing the typical role of point guard and letting the big men go up for it.
The Warriors extended the lead to 13 on Curry’s triple, and were one play away from running away with the game.
It came with yet another spectacular play by Curry, who drove the lane, lost his handle but tipped the ball back outside. He ran to the corner, and was left wide open.
His 10th rebound of the night came two possessions later, and drew loud applause from the sellout crowd.
Curry was 8-for-15 from the arc, and became the fifth player this season to record multiple triple doubles, the second of the Golden State starting five.
Curry led the team with 39 points, 12 assists and 10 board, while Green was a key anchor with 22 points, two assists and 11 rebounds.
Rookie forward Myles Turner led the Pacers with 31 points off the bench, doing most of his work against the Warriors second team, though he played 28 minutes.
The outpouring of solid shots from Turner prompted Kerr to call for a double team on the rookie, which stymied what might have become a 40-point night.
The win over Indiana keeps Golden State firmly entrenched as the top team in basketball as they begin to prepare for what could be their toughest game of the year: San Antonio on Monday evening.