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Warriors ride Curry’s hot start to complete 4-1 road trip

Steph Curry scores 42 points in Warriors 131-109 win

Golden State Warriors v Indiana Pacers
Steph Curry, probably calling out Reggie Miller after another three-pointer in Indiana
Photo by Justin Casterline/NBAE via Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors played their fifth road game in seven nights Thursday in Indiana. If the Indiana Pacers expected the Warriors to have tired legs, a 45-point first quarter disabused them of that notion early, and the Dubs cruised to a 131-109 win and an impressive 4-1 road trip.

Steph Curry started red-hot, going 6-for-6 with 18 points in the first quarter, all on threes. He cooled off only slightly in the second, drilling two more triples and finishing the half with 29 points. For the game, Curry finished with 42 points and 11 made threes, and set the tone early.

Despite the travel fatigue, the Warriors seemed to dominate on hustle plays, getting ten offensive rebounds and a steady diet of layups and dunks. Their passing was solid, finishing with 33 assists, but it was really a testament to an unguardable Curry warping a team’s defensive schemes.

It wasn’t that Indiana was playing bad defense. It’s just that sometimes, even with two defenders on him, even five feet behind the arc, Curry simply can’t be stopped.

Let’s some of those buckets! First, Brandin Podziemski continued his gritty rebounding and got Curry an extra look.

After his third straight triple, Indiana started keying on Curry. So he shot from just past the half court logo.

Then he barely needed to get open for the next one.

After his sixth three of the quarter, Kerr had to pull Curry. Not because of the exhausting road trip, but because they thought another Curry flurry might send broadcaster Bob Fitzgerald to the emergency room.

Deep breaths, Bob!

Curry got some validation in the second quarter when a replay review took away his third foul, on a play just like one where he lost a potential four-point play in Philadelphia Wednesday night. This time, Haliburton kicked out his leg on a jumper and hit Curry’s knee, and the referees made it an offensive foul instead.

Golden State won the first quarter, 35-24, but Indiana cut the lead to just three points with 4:20 to go. Then the Warriors turned up the defense, with Draymond Green getting two steals on Tyrese Haliburton down the stretch. The Dubs closed the first half on a 12-3 run - with eight of those points coming from Curry, including a final bucket with 2.8 seconds to go. Also, since we mentioned 4:20, happy birthday to Klay Thompson, who missed tonight’s game with an illness.

If you want to watch all of Curry’s first-quarter threes in a row, we’ve got you covered.

One side effect of Curry’s hot shooting was that the overplaying Pacers defense opened the door for a lot of open looks at the rim. One big beneficiary was Jonathan Kuminga, who finished with six dunks. He had 18 points and two blocks, and a surprising four assists.

Haliburton, who will be starting the All-Star Game in Indianapolis in ten days, didn’t score until 5:50 remained in the third quarter. He finished with 11 assists, but only five points. It’s a remarkable back-to-back effort for the Warriors defense against All-Star Tyreses, after they held Tyrese Maxey of the Philadelphia 76ers to 12 points on 5-for-14 shooting Wednesday night. Combined, the Tyreses scored 17 points, shooting 7-21 with six turnovers.

Indiana had six players score in double figures, but no one had more than Pascal Siakam’s 16 points. While they shot 48% from the floor and 38% from three-point range, the Warriors mostly limited their fast breaks - partly by making 56% of their own shots.

It appeared that the Warriors were daring Myles Turner and Siakam to make plays. While they did fine, combining for 31 points on 11-23 shooting, but just three combined assists. The high-octane Pacers offense bogged down with the post-heavy offense, which was also due to full-time center Draymond Green’s defense in the post.

Golden State got another strong defensive effort from a rookie-heavy, hustle-heavy lineup. The group of Kuminga, Dario Saric, Podziemski, Lester Quinones, and Gui Santos held the Pacers to two points in the final 3:59 of the third quarter.

Santos in particular has been a revelation, grabbing loose balls and rebounds while seemingly always in the right place. He’s even setting smart screens.

And he’s always ready to dunk.

And he twice hit three-pointers to answer the Pacers when they cut the lead to 15 points midway through the final quarter.

Curry hit two triples late in the fourth quarter to give himself 11 on the game, his 13th game of 11 or more threes. Klay Thompson is second with four 11+ games, tied with Damian Lillard.

It was a huge road trip for the struggling Dubs, who easily could have gone 5-0. Suddenly the team’s second timeline has arrived. Draymond Green has been cool and collected. Jonathan Kuminga is untradeable.

But the main thing is that the Warriors still have Steph Curry. When you have the baby-faced assassin, it doesn’t take a deadline deal to become a playoff team once again.

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