Curry’s hot hand sends Warriors past Pacers for 11th in row
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Stephen Curry’s first-half shooting clinic was virtually flawless.
His championship teammates pitched in, too.
Curry scored 23 of his 26 points in the first half Monday and Golden State ran away with a 132-100 rout at Indiana for its league-leading 11th consecutive victory. The two-time defending champions still aren’t satisfied.
“I feel like we can,” Curry said when asked if the Warriors can get even better. “We’re not playing perfect basketball, by any stretch, but we’re playing consistent, focused basketball and we’re still working out some kinks with rotations and stuff like that.”
It’s a scary thought for the rest of the league, especially after the two-time MVP turned in another head-turning performance.
Curry made his first eight shots and his first six 3-pointers, including a demoralizing 27-foot buzzer-beater that gave the Warriors a 69-48 halftime lead. He finished 10 of 13 from the field with six rebounds, three assists and two steals in just 27 minutes.
DeMarcus Cousins had a season-high 22 points on a night five players scored in double figures and the Warriors had 39 assists.
And all that came on the final leg of a five-game road trip without Draymond Green, who rested, and against the league’s No. 1 scoring defense.
“I was a little worried about this game. Everybody’s anxious to get home,” coach Steve Kerr said. “But we finished off the trip the right way. We’ve been more dialed in the last month than we have all season.”
Golden State has won a league-high 10 consecutive road games and swept a five-game trip for the first time since November 2014.
The Pacers played without All-Star guard Victor Oladipo, who had season-ending surgery on his right knee Monday, and Tyreke Evans, Oladipo’s replacement, because of a sore back. But even at full strength, they may have struggled to weather the Warriors’ flurry.
Indiana gave up a season-high 40 points in the first quarter, and never got closer than 16 after Curry broke a 16-16 tie by scoring eight points to start a decisive 24-6 quarter-closing run en route to its most lopsided loss this season.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that this team is going on the up track,” Pacers guard Darren Collison said. “I think we saw tonight, playing against a team like that, how to execute and we can take something from that.”
Myles Turner scored 16 points and Bojan Bogdanovic had 15 but Indiana lost for the second straight time since Oladipo was injured last week. It was the Pacers’ worst loss this season.
Warriors: Kevin Durant had 16 points and seven assists as his 22-game streak of scoring at least 20 points ended. ... Klay Thompson added 16 points. ... Jordan Bell replaced Green in the lineup and scored eight. ... The Warriors improved to 18-8 on the road, the league’s best mark. ... They also snapped a two-game losing streak in the series.
Pacers: Dropped to 7-6 this season without Oladipo, who missed 11 games in November and December with a sore right knee. ... Collison scored 13 points and had eight assists. ... Thaddeus Young finished with 11 points, seven rebounds and four assists. ....IndyCar drivers Ed Carpenter, James Hinchcliffe and Will Power attended the game. Power won last year’s Indianapolis 500.
Oladipo might be out of sight, but he’s not out of mind.
After team officials announced Monday that Oladipo is expected to make a full recovery after undergoing surgery on a ruptured quad tendon in his right knee, the team handed out gold T-shirts with a message: “Together 4 Vic.” And Oladipo delivered a pregame video message, thanking the fans for their support and encouraging his teammates to overcome his absence.
While the Pacers have not established a timetable for his return, coach Nate McMillan acknowledged Oladipo would be on crutches for a “couple of months” and probably wouldn’t travel with the team.
“I just spoke with him,” McMillan said during pregame availability. “He’s doing fine. He’s doing great.”
HE SAID IT
“He (Curry) has this skill set you can’t really fathom,” Kerr said. “It doesn’t matter time, score — he’s always one shot away from getting on fire.”
Warriors: Hosts Philadelphia, a team it has beaten 10 straight times, on Thursday.
Pacers: Visit Washington on Wednesday.