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Warriors avoid late collapse, defeat Nets 120-114

Stephen Curry breaks record for most consecutive games with five made three-pointers, while Kevin Durant closes the door late

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Brooklyn Nets Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The back-to-back champion Golden State Warriors squandered a 19 point lead on the road, but still managed to escape with a 120-114 win over the Brooklyn Nets.

Stephen Curry continued his torrid start by scoring 35 points on 11-of-26 shooting from the field, including 7-of-15 from beyond the arc. This was his seventh straight game with at least five three’s made...that’s the new NBA record, folks.

But he didn’t carve up Brooklyn’s alone, #strengthinnumbers. Kevin Durant continued to put up MVP numbers, dropping 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists. Draymond Green stuffed the stat sheet with 8 points, 13 assists, 5 steals, and only 1 turnover. Klay Thompson continued to struggle from deep, making only one of his five three-pointers. But, he was accurate from the mid range, finishing with 18 points on 8-of-17 shooting from the field.

First Half

Curry was electric early, scoring 16 of the champs 32 first quarter points. A vocal pro-Dubs contingent in the Brooklyn crowd broke out into a “Steph-enn Curr-reee” chant as the red-hot point guard shot free throws. Kerr emphasized the bench early on, with six different players playing at least 6 minutes in the first half.

Jordan Bell had a particularly heady play late in the second quarter, rebounding an errant Green three-pointer, quickly passing to a wide open Durant beyond the arc, and immediately turning to set a screen on the nearest defender as Durant drilled the bucket. It reminded me of an offensive lineman setting a block to open a lane for a running back to score. Beautiful!

Curry finished the half with 24 points, knocking down 5-of-8 treys. Durant had 14 points while Thompson and Green chipped in 9 and 8 points respectively. The four all-stars took turns picking apart the hapless Nets’ defense, guiding the Warriors to shoot 56% from the field after two quarters.

The Nets lived up to their three-point jacking reputation, firing up 20 attempts and making 9 by the half. Unfortunately for them, the Warriors suffocated them into 41% shooting going into the break. Brooklyn shooting guard Carys Levert clearly had the coach’s green light, dribbling the air out of the ball on his way to making half of his ten shots early on. He was pretty much the only offensive threat that the Warriors seemed mildly worried about at the time.

Warriors 63, Nets 49

Second Half

In the third quarter, my phone started lighting up from friends praising Alfonzo McKinnie. Moments later when I saw The Athletic’s Anthony Slater tweet out some praise for the youngster, I could feel the buzz growing.

McKinnie has strong instincts on where to be on the floor, and he has no fear of pulling the trigger on open shots.

But the Nets refused to go quietly into the night late afternoon, knocking down seven of their first nine attempts in the fourth quarter from beyond the arc. That hot shooting from three-point land helped reduce a sixteen point fourth quarter Warriors lead to TWO with two minutes left.

Thankfully, back-to-back Durant and Curry jumpers ended a four minute Dubs’ scoring drought and effectively closed the door on the Nets.

Brooklyn finished the game making 20 of their 42 three-pointers, an astounding 48%. They outscored the champs 37-27 in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough. This is the second game the Warriors have won this year against a team going BONKERS beyond the arc (the other was against Utah).

D’Angelo Russell led the Nets in scoring with 25 points and made 5-of-8 of his triples.

Moving On

The champs head to Chicago tomorrow for the second half of a road back-to-back. The game’s at 5PM, and it will be the final game of the road trip.

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