Warriors dismantle Spurs behind Curry
OAKLAND, Calif. — Stephen Curry scored 37 points and hit six 3-pointers in three quarters as the reigning champion Golden State Warriors showed they still rule the West by routing the San Antonio Spurs 120-90 on Monday night.
Curry had 15 points in the opening quarter and shot 12 for 20 in Golden State's 39th straight home win at raucous Oracle Arena, where a star-studded sellout crowd saw a lopsided showdown in what was billed as a potential Western Conference finals preview.
The Warriors (41-4) snapped a 13-game winning streak by the Spurs (38-7), off to the best start in franchise history but without Tim Duncan this time. The teams had the highest combined winning percentage in NBA history by opponents meeting at least 40 games into the season.
Curry galloped down the court and pounded his chest after his second straight 3-pointer and 10th consecutive point put Golden State up 76-56 with 7:55 to go in the third. It was his 1,400th career 3 and he became the 26th player in NBA history to reach that mark.
Chants of "M-V-P!" came from every corner of the arena as Curry did it all for his highest-scoring total in 17 games against San Antonio — knocking down 3s from the baseline and hitting from 30 feet well beyond the arc. Coming off his second triple-double of the season when he banked in a half-court shot Friday against Indiana, the dynamic point guard had three steals early in the game to set the defensive tone. And the Warriors didn't relent after building a 62-47 halftime lead.
All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard scored 16 points for the sloppy Spurs, with Harrison Barnes and Andre Iguodala guarding him early. The Spurs lacked the presence of Duncan, out because of soreness in his right knee.
Even coach Steve Kerr was in disbelief watching his current team thoroughly dismantle his old one on both ends — not to mention his mentor and good friend, Gregg Popovich. Kerr coached his second game back following a long leave of absence dating to Oct. 1 because of complications following two back operations.
Popovich understood the hype for one of the most anticipated regular-season matchups in recent memory.
"Why not? It's the two teams with the best record, playing it up would seem to be logical to me," he said. "We feel different going against a team that's the best team in the league. I get butterflies in my gut and excited about the game, and all that sort of thing. I don't feel like that every night."
Yet the Spurs are still right behind in the standings despite Golden State's NBA-record 24-0 start, so the Warriors wanted nothing more than to send a message that they plan to win another championship.
First, the Warriors are pursuing the Chicago Bulls' NBA record of 44 straight regular-season home wins from March 30, 1995 to April 4, 1996. They improved to 21-0 this season.