Curry 55-foot buzzer beater at half highlights Warriors win
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Steve Kerr admired the exit almost as much as the half-court buzzer beater that Stephen Curry is so perfecting this season.
Curry made a zippy crossover to shed his defender then banked in a 55-footer at the halftime buzzer, and the Golden State Warriors extended their record regular-season home winning streak to 46 by beating the Utah Jazz 115-94 on Wednesday night.
The reigning MVP let it fly from beyond midcourt for yet another jaw-dropping 3 and a 52-41 lead at the break, taking off in an all-out sprint for the tunnel without celebrating as his teammates collectively threw their arms in the air in admiration and awe.
“It was a great exit. That was fantastic,” Kerr said. “It was like when Bo Jackson ran out of the stadium. I’m glad he came back for the second half. When he shoots it, you know it has a chance. It’s incredible. I’ve never seen anybody that accurate from midcourt. It always looks good, even the ones that miss. He gives it a chance every time.”
Klay Thompson scored 23 points while Curry wound up with 12 points and 10 assists on a quiet night in which he struggled to find his stroke early. Draymond Green added 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists as Golden State (57-6) improved to 28-0 at Oracle Arena this season.
Curry is 4 for 11 on shots from 40-plus feet (36.4 percent) this season and 13 of 27 (48.1) from 30 feet and beyond. He missed his first five shots and four 3s but dished out six first-quarter assists.
Trey Burke led the Jazz with 18 points off the bench, while Rudy Gobert had 15 rebounds.
Curry hit a 3 for his first points 3:12 before halftime to avoid his first scoreless half since Nov. 23, 2012, at Denver. His extra-long range is becoming expected.
“That’s not a surprise anymore,” Green said. “As soon as he shot it ... I knew it was going in. To say, ‘I know it’s going in’ is crazy but you kind of get a feeling.”
Marreese Speights scored seven of his 16 points in the second quarter to provide a lift off the bench. Much of the second team contributed to an 11-2 run and locked down on defense before Curry returned 4:47 before halftime.
Leandro Barbosa added 13 points. Andre Iguodala, the NBA Finals MVP, returned to play 22 minutes after missing the two previous games and three of the last four with tightness in his left hamstring. His absence had kept the Warriors from consistently being able to use their smaller lineup.
Curry has 304 3-pointers. He and Thompson have combined to make 500 3s for a second straight season.
The Warriors committed 15 turnovers after Kerr called on his team to simplify because “the simple leads to the spectacular” following 44 turnovers over the previous two games.
“It’s like they’re a living organism as a group,” Utah coach Quin Snyder said of the in-sync Warriors.
Curry said there are plenty of lessons to be learned over the season’s final push before the playoffs. Kerr appreciates that mindset, considering the season-ending stretch important time to fine tune everything.
“We’re trying to make sure that our habits are good because those carry over,” Kerr said. “If you don’t box out with 10 games left in the season you’re not going to box out in the finals. It might cost you a game, it might cost you a championship. We know that. It’s happened before.”
Jazz: G Rodney Hood sat out his third game of the season and first since Jan. 9, this time with lower back soreness. Utah played the second game of a back-to-back after losing at home to Atlanta. Snyder doesn’t consider it a long-term issue. ... The Jazz have lost 10 of 11 to the Warriors and six straight at Oracle.
Warriors: C Festus Ezeli, who had arthroscopic left knee surgery Feb. 8, has been back on the court in recent days doing some shooting. He is still scheduled to be re-evaluated six weeks after surgery — likely on March 21 — and Kerr expects him to play again this season. “He’s definitely on pace, on track to come back,” Kerr said. ... Curry has a 3 in 133 straight games. ... Andrew Bogut’s three blocks tied him with Larry Smith for 10th on the Warriors’ career list with 384.
Jazz: Host Washington on Friday.
Warriors: Host Portland on Friday.