Steph Curry leads Warriors to their best start since 73-win season
Stephen Curry turned in his third double-double in as many games as the Warriors beat the Kings to improve to 3-0.
SACRAMENTO — Stephen Curry turned in his third straight double-double, as the Warriors stayed unbeaten with a 119-107 win over the Sacramento Kings. Almost like it’s 2015-16 again. Only 21 more to go.
At 3-0, the Warriors are off to their best start since their record-setting 73-win campaign of six seasons ago, which they began by reeling off 24 in a row before their first loss. And it’s been fueled by a vintage Curry, who turned in his third double-double effort in as many games with 27 points and 10 assists, along with seven rebounds, to help Golden State pull away late at the Golden1 Center.
“I think this was our best game of the three so far,” coach Steve Kerr said afterward. “When we take care of the ball, we’re really hard to beat. This was the best two-way game that we’ve played.”
Three games into the season, Curry is only one away from tying his personal best for consecutive double-doubles. He also became the first Warrior and 69th player in NBA history with 5,000 career assists on a first-half dish to Damion Lee.
Third-year guard Jordan Poole provided a scoring spark behind Curry, with 22 points, followed by Andrew Wiggins’ 17 points (including a clutch contested shot to maintain the Warriors’ fourth-quarter lead) and Draymond Green with 14 (plus seven assists and five boards).
“We’ve won three different games three different ways,” Curry said. “You want to win games early (and) get off to a good start, but we know we have a lot of things we can sharpen up. … We feel like we have that capability to take productive strides every game. Hopefully we’ll continue to win.”
Kerr has said the Warriors are “chasing wins” this season.
Curry said he’s not feeling any additional urgency and that his head coach will regret those comments.
“Chasing 82-0, right?” he said with a grin. “That comment’s gonna haunt him for a long time.”
Maybe no 82-0, or even 73-9, but the Warriors are looking much improved over the team that came up just short of the bottom seed in the Western Conference last season. They’re certainly off to a better start.
The Warriors lost their first two games last season by a combined 65 points, defeats Curry has referenced multiple times during Golden State’s perfect start this year.
“This is obviously a better vibe,” Curry said. “You start off the year more so building off what you’ve done successfully instead of having to go back to the drawing board after every loss, especially with how we started last year against Brooklyn, Milwaukee — two tough games and we got blown out. Then you’re like, ‘Oh, what do we do now?’ … There’s a much better foundation than last year.”
Late in the third quarter Sunday evening, Harrison Barnes’ breakaway dunk ignited the home crowd and could have been the dagger in the Dubs. But Curry answered immediately with a step-back 3-pointer that tied the game. He tried it again and missed, but Otto Porter Jr. was there to clean it up for two points and the lead, which the Warriors never fully relinquished.
Without Curry on the floor, the Warriors fell in another first-half hole. When he sat down for his usual second-quarter rest, the Kings turned a tie game into a deficit as large as eight points for Golden State.
Almost an entire quarter lapsed between Warriors leads in the first half.
But Golden State regained control to pull even before halftime.
In the fourth quarter, Curry stepped aside and his supporting case stepped up.
Curry attempted four shots — all off the mark — and a lone rebound was the only stat he registered during the final quarter. Instead, Wiggins and Poole led the way, with a couple a key 3s from Gary Payton II, who filled many of the minutes left vacant by the inactive Andre Iguodala (sore left knee).
Payton II was nearly a victim of roster cuts at the end of the preseason but made an immediate impact when he entered, forcing a steal and finishing a thunderous dunk on a breakaway lob from Curry.
“If somebody had picked him up I would’ve been happy for him, but selfishly I wanted him for my roster,” Kerr said of the waiver-wire drama that defined Payton’s final week of the preseason. “He gives us a dimension out there that really adds to our team.”
Payton finished with 10 points in 17 minutes and knocked down a pair of key 3-pointers that protected the Warriors’ lead in the fourth quarter. Lee rounded out the six Warriors in double figures with 11 points.
The Kings were almost unstoppable from the field for three quarters. They connected on 34 of their first 64 shot attempts (53.1%), which would’ve been the highest success rate of any Warriors opponent this season, but were limited to 8 of 22 (36.4%) in the final period.
The Warriors forced more turnovers than the Kings (19-6), didn’t often send Sacramento to the foul line (13 attempts) and turned in their third straight game of at least 50 rebounds (53, matching Sacramento). Yet, the game was still undecided until the closing minutes of the fourth quarter.
- Curry is now the sole owner of the two longest streaks with a 3-pointer in NBA history. His first of four triples Sunday made it 128 straight games, breaking a tie with Kyle Korver for the second-longest streak, behind only Curry’s previous 157-game run.