Stephen Curry scores 41 points as Warriors hold off Pelicans
By JANIE McCAULEY
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Stephen Curry stepped back time and again and released the ball from way back. Most of the time with at least one defender in his face, too.
"It's insane what he does," coach Steve Kerr said.
Curry scored 41 points with nine 3-pointers to become the first player in NBA history to make eight or more 3s in three straight games, and the Golden State Warriors held off the New Orleans Pelicans 147-140 on Wednesday night for their sixth straight win.
"When you get hot like that, you really don't see anything but the rim," Curry said. "You just try to stay on balance and get to your spot, wherever that is. Again, these are shots I work on, I have confidence in them, I know my teammates do."
Pelicans star Anthony Davis went down hard beneath the Warriors basket with 2:22 left but was able to walk off after a few minutes and quickly returned. Davis had 30 points, 18 rebounds, seven assists and three blocks in nearly 41 minutes for New Orleans, coming off a 46-point and 16-rebound gem Monday night despite starting 0 for 5 with just four points in the first quarter. Nikola Mirotic scored 29 points, Jrue Holiday added 25 points and seven assists while Elfrid Payton dished out 12 assists.
The Pelicans and Warriors combined for an NBA-record 43 3s, breaking the mark by two that Sacramento and Golden State accomplished Jan. 5 at Golden 1 Center.
Curry has 28 3-pointers in his past three games while the Warriors made 18 or more from deep in a franchise-record fourth straight game. The 24 made 3s matched a franchise best.
"The shots that Steph made were not wide-open shots," Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. "They're challenged shots, and he made them."
The two-time MVP scored 23 of his points in the third quarter, hitting four 3s over the final 2:37, as the two-time defending champions rallied, taking a 110-109 lead into the fourth after Andre Iguodala's driving finger roll and ensuing free throw.
"It's once-in-a-generation, once-in-a-lifetime talent," said Durant, who could only shake his head in joy.
Golden State found its rhythm in the second half playing the second night of a back-to-back. The Warriors won 142-111 at Denver on Tuesday night and this was their lone day at home during a grueling 17-day stretch, with seven of eight games away from the Bay Area. Golden State won't play at Oracle Arena again until Jan. 31.
"I'm more like the director at the YMCA than I am coach. `You guys are shirts and you guys are skins, now go play,'" Kerr said.
On Friday at the Clippers, All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins is scheduled to start and make his Warriors debut for his first game in nearly a year since tearing his left Achilles tendon and undergoing surgery.
The Warriors were hardly as sharp initially as they were a night earlier, but it would have been tough to match that 51-point opening period at Denver.
They hit 10 of their 21 in the first quarter alone Tuesday. This time, Golden State had to chip away at a 17-point first-half deficit.
After also losing on Golden State's home floor 131-121 on Oct. 31, the Pelicans have lost 10 of the last 11 and 21 of 23 to the Warriors. New Orleans also lost a 4-1 Western Conference semifinals to Golden State.
"We wouldn't have won this game a month ago. We're at a different place now, I can feel it as a coach," Kerr said. "We're more connected now."
Gentry, Kerr's top assistant during the 2015 championship season, offered some helpful insight on Cousins before the Warriors signed him to a one-year contract last summer.
"We had a couple good conversations and it was very helpful in terms of my approach when we did sign DeMarcus," Kerr said.
Is Gentry curious how Cousins might fit in on a star-studded roster?
"Nope, not really," he said. "He's a great player. He's the best player at his position in the league."
Pelicans: Mirotic played 29 minutes after he had been limited to 17 on Monday, five days after he returned from a right ankle injury. ... New Orleans has just two road wins vs. the Western Conference - Monday at the Clippers and in its season opener Oct. 17 at Houston.
Warriors: Golden State is 4-0 when making 20 or more 3s. ... Alfonzo McKinnie and Kevon Looney had back-to-back blocks on consecutive New Orleans shots on one possession midway through the fourth. ... G Shaun Livingston had a driving baseline one-handed slam over Holiday late in the first half and scored 11 points in an 8-minute stretch. ... The Warriors are 6-1 in the second game of a back-to-back this season.
Pelicans: At Portland on Friday night. New Orleans swept the Trail Blazers in the first round of last season's playoffs.
Warriors: At Clippers on Friday night.
More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/tag/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports
Updated January 17, 2019