Golden State handed the unrelenting Nets a 120-114 defeat at Barclays Center Sunday evening as Stephen Curry set a new NBA record, when he hit a fifth 3-pointer for the seventh consecutive game late in the second quarter
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said before the game that the Nets (2-4) always put up a good fight, and that’s exactly what Brooklyn did, coming from 19 points back in the third quarter to within two points of the Warriors (6-1) in the fourth. But Golden State showed exactly why they are two-time defending champions.
Kerr said the Nets battled the whole way:
We had them on the ropes several times. I think we were up 19 late in the third quarter, Brooklyn hit a big 3-pointer to end the third and two to start the fourth quarter, get them right back into the game. That was really the story. We were able to hold them off but they made 20 3-pointers.
The Warriors were off-rhythm and got out to a slow start, but the Nets weren’t on fire either. Jarrett Allen scored the first points of the game with a dunk, and after a triple by Caris LeVert that put the Nets up 14-10, Kerr called for a much-needed timeout.
Kerr said of LeVert, who scored 23 points, was tough and representative of the Nets’ young talent:
He’s a slasher, ball handler. He can get into the paint. He’s big so he can finish in the paint. Brooklyn has a lot of young players here.
LeVert made another triple out of the timeout, but the Warriors were able to capitalize when the Nets got into foul trouble. Curry and Kevin Durant were each fouled at the three-point line with Curry making all three free throws and Durant adding 2-of-3 to tie the game at 26.
Golden State started to dominate when Durant made a driving layup and Andre Iguodala made a sideline pass to Curry who upfaked and got the scoop to go giving the Warriors a 32-29 lead at the end of the first.
They got off to a better start in the second quarter, extending their lead to 42-34 and forcing the Nets to take a timeout.
Klay Thompson continued to struggle even at the free throw line, making 1-of-2 about halfway through the quarter. As a team, Golden State did not let up. Curry made a driving layup to put the Warriors up 50-39, and drawing another Nets timeout.
The Warriors barraged the Nets with triples to close out the half — Durant hit one when the Nets failed to defend him, and Curry launched a pull-up 3, fell down, and still made it with no call. That gave the Warriors a 19-point lead, and they ended the half up 63-49.
With 1:16 left in the first half, Curry set a new NBA record, with seven straight games making five or more 3-pointers. The previous record of six games was set by George McCloud in the 1995-96 season, according to Warriors PR.
The Nets continued to play catch-up in the second half and got close, but Thompson, offering flashes of his normal self, showed some improvement in the third quarter, hitting a couple of shots including one late in the quarter to put the Warriors up 99-85.
Brooklyn showed no sign of giving up and rallied in the fourth. Spencer Dinwiddie made a triple right away, and halfway through the quarter, D’Angelo Russell made a 3 and cut the Warriors’ lead to 108-99.
Durant said the Warriors had some good spurts and he liked how his team controlled the game until the Nets made a series of three’s:
I think the 3-pointer kept them in the game, kept the crowd in the game as well. Some of them were contested, a couple of them were open. I think the 3-pointer got them back in the game and then we had to play a little bit and execute down the stretch. It was a solid outing for us.
The Nets continued to fire successfully — LeVert hit a 3, Allen a two and LeVert flushed a crowd-awakening dunk to cut the Warriors lead to 110-106. Russell made a layup with 1:53 remaining to bring Brooklyn within two points. That was the closest they got, though.
The Warriors continued to put more up and defend and took the win.
Curry said the Warriors played well overall and knew they had to come out and get off to a great start. He said Golden State made it a point not to give the Nets confidence early on:
They got hot in the fourth and tried to make it interesting, but we made enough plays down the stretch to obviously get the win. They’re a talented group that works hard, and obviously if they get hot from three, they can cause some trouble, so we just had to withstand that and get to the finish line.
Curry finished with a team-leading 35 points, shooting 7-of-15 from 3-point range and 11-of-26 from the field, and getting seven rebounds and three assists. Durant had his fourth game scoring 30 points or more this season, posting 34 points on 11-of-20 shooting from the field and 2-of-6 from 3-point range along with eight rebounds and six assists.
Thompson scored 18 points on 8-of-17 shooting. Warriors reserve Alfonzo McKinnie had a notable night, scoring 9 points and five rebounds.
The Warriors finish their three-game road trip against the Chicago Bulls (2-4) at United Center. Tip-off is at 5 p.m.
Kerr addressed DeMarcus Cousins’ ejection from Friday’s game against the New York Knicks during a timeout in the first quarter for ignoring warnings about trash talking from the sidelines. Kerr said the message to Cousins, who has not played a game for the Warriors yet, was “Don’t do that again.” Kerr said:
He knows that that kind of stuff is not going to help us win a championship, is not going to help his career. I don’t expect it to happen again.