There was a jump ball, a blinding flash, and just like that, the game was over.
The Warriors (42-7) used lightning quick strikes to deal thunderous blows in the form of 3-point bombs to scorch the Charlotte Hornets (23-27) Wednesday 126-111.
Their initial eight baskets went like this: three, three, three, three, three, dunk, three, and three — and that was after just five minutes.
The Warriors made nine 3-pointers in the first quarter, which tied the franchise record for most threes in a quarter. They also hit 15 of them at halftime, also tying a franchise record for most 3-pointers in a half.
Stephen Curry led the team for the second-straight game right out the gate as he scored or assisted on seven of the Warriors’ first eight baskets. He also hit 11 3-pointers in just 29 minutes and single-handedly ended Marvin Williams‘ career on a disrespectful crossover.
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) February 2, 2017
Curry would end the game with 39 points and eight assists, and watched the final frame from the bench.
Basically every shot felt good to him Curry said:
“Tonight it was kind one of those vibes where every shot I took in the first quarter I kind of knew right when it left my hand it was kind of going in and you might be surprised if it didn’t.”
Durant has been in amazement of the last three games for Curry, where he’s shot a combined 26-of-42 from deep:
“That’s crazy. He’s shooting threes like guys are shooting twos. He’s got it going right now, we got to continue to feed him and continue play off of him and he’s opening it up for everyone else.”
Klay Thompson did his best to keep up with his fellow Splash Brother and would finish with 29 points of his own and tied his career-high with eight assists.
Both Thompson and Curry started the game on a tear as they scored 26 points apiece in the first half.
Durant said it’s hard enough to stop one of them when they are shooting out the lights, let alone both of them:
“We just try to screen for them and make the correct passes and keep going to them. And they stayed hot, they made the correct plays as well. Both of them with eight assists and one turnover apiece. When they get it going we try to find them as much as we can.”
After what Steve Kerr and Durant deemed to be Curry worrying too much about getting Durant comfortable, Curry has started to take over games once more.
Since the beginning of the new year, Curry has averaged 20.5 shots per game, exactly five more shots a game than what he averaged in December.
Kerr said the speed bumps that happened in December, notably the blown leads to Memphis and Cleveland were in retrospect necessary:
“I would have preferred to win obviously but you have to go through all this stuff to figure out who you are as a team and what you need to work on. We’ve had a couple slip ups here and there but I feel like we’re growing and getting better and that’s a good sign.”
And the team has also improved offensively. In December they averaged 116.3 points per game and were plus-12.7 with a 111.5 offensive rating, which is still pretty good. But in January, they raised all those numbers and are averaged 120.3 points per game, were a plus-14.1 and had a 114.9 offensive rating.
Aggression has been the key, but at the right times, Curry said:
“Just trying to score and put pressure on defenses in that respect and it opens up a lot more for us as a team. Mostly it’s having a purpose and balancing my aggression in scoring but also as a point guard on this team picking and choosing your spots and understanding how the flow of the game is supposed to be.”
Oh, and that guy Curry was worried about?
In January with a more assertive Curry, Durant actually set his Warriors career high in scoring and shots per game with 27.6 and 17.6 respectively. Durant struggled a bit with his shot against the Hornets, scoring just 18 on 17 shots, but it wasn’t for lack of looks, as almost all of his shots were wide open.
And a majority of those looks can be attributed to his point guard, because when Curry is looking to attack on offense, it opens up everything for everyone.
And that is not an understatement.
Late in the first half the Hornets opted to double team Curry at halfcourt, leaving Durant wide open behind the arc.
If aggressive Curry can get one of the best shooters in the NBA wide open 3-pointers just from being on the court, there is no stopping this team.
And the best ways to make someone feel comfortable is to get them wide open looks on an unstoppable offense.
In the second game of their back-to-back the Warriors will travel to Los Angeles to take on the Clippers Thursday. Golden State will look to hang another 40-piece on their Pacific Division rivals after winning by 46 points just four short days ago.
The Warriors were without David West, Zaza Pachulia and Shaun Livingston Wednesday. West has been out for a while with his thumb injury, but it was just revealed Pachulia will miss at least the next week with a rotator cuff injury he suffered from diving on the floor in Portland and Livingston was a late scratch with a mid-back strain. West will be reevaluated after the Warriors two-game road trip, and Livingston will travel with the team but is officially listed as doubtful…Warriors coach Steve Kerr won Coach of the Month honors for January, where the team finished with an NBA leading 12-2 record. This is the second time this year Kerr has won Coach of the Month, with the other coming in October/November. This is the fifth time in his career he’s won that award. … The Warriors have now finished 24 straight months with a winning record. That’s the longest streak in Warriors franchise history as well as the longest active streak in the association. … Steve Kerr said that the Warriors film session on Tuesday consisted of just showing side-by-side pictures of assistant Ron Adams and Orville Redenbacher and that was it.