Curry tweaks ankle, has 28 as Warriors top Hawks
ATLANTA (AP) — Golden State coach Steve Kerr wasn’t going to gamble on leaving Stephen Curry in a close game, even after Curry’s dramatic proof of how well he could play after turning his right ankle.
Curry scored 28 points, including 15 in the final seven minutes of the first half after returning from the ankle injury, and the Warriors beat the Atlanta Hawks 114-109 on Friday night for their fifth straight victory.
Curry turned his right ankle and left the game in the first quarter. He returned for his high-scoring second period before retreating to the locker room for good in the third — despite his objections.
“Basically their call,” Curry said. “Frustrating, but big picture, I understand. ... I don’t think it’s going to be anything that will keep me out.”
Kerr said Curry was “limping a little bit” in the third quarter, leading to the “precautionary” decision to take him out of the game for good.
“He wanted to stay in but we didn’t want him to stay in just because of the potential to make it worse,” Kerr said.
Kevin Durant also had 28 points for the Warriors, who are unbeaten since the All-Star break.
Atlanta’s Dennis Schroder, who had 27 points, sank three free throws with 19 seconds remaining to cut Golden State’s lead to 111-109. Durant made only one of two free throws to push the lead to three points before Andre Iguodala’s steal from Kent Bazemore and layup clinched the win.
“Kent lost the ball and it just fumbled to me,” Iguodala said.
Kerr said the steal was “a hell of a play, an attacking, defensive play. Pretty impressive basically just to take the ball from Kent and go down and finish the game. ... That was amazing.”
Bazemore led the Hawks with a career-high 29 points.
“It was the first time I’ve had fun in a while,” Bazemore said. “The season being what it’s been, I’ve kind of been frustrated. ... That’s not who I am and that’s not what got me here.”
Curry apparently hurt his ankle when he stepped on teammate Zaza Pachulia’s foot. After returning with 7:18 remaining in the first half, Curry scored the Warriors’ next 11 points — including two 3-pointers and a three-point play.
Curry closed the half with a left-handed layup, giving him 25 points in 18 minutes.
Atlanta, in contention for the league’s worst record, stayed close with Golden State, which began the night a half-game behind Houston in the race for the league’s best record.
“It shows how hard we’re working,” said Taurean Prince, who had 15 points. “It shows what we can be.”
Warriors: Golden State improved to 22-3 against Eastern Conference teams. The Warriors’ 13-1 road record against the East is the best for a Western Conference team since the 2006-07 Suns were 14-1. ... The Warriors had 33 assists on 42 field goals.
Hawks: Atlanta shot 60 percent (12 of 20) from the field in the first period and still trailed 33-31. The Hawks made 15 3-pointers, including five for Prince and Bazemore. ... John Collins had 16 points.
Curry sank his 200th 3-point field goal of the season in the first quarter. He is the first player in NBA history with at least 200 3s in six seasons. He has reached the mark in every season since 2012-13.
Schroder closed the third quarter by making a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from near the halfcourt line. It was a good night for improbable shots. A Hawks fan wearing a Kyle Korver jersey sank a halfcourt shot during a timeout.
Warriors: After ending a three-game road trip, Golden State hosts the Nets on Tuesday.
Hawks: Hosts Phoenix on Sunday in the last of four straight home games.
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