ORACLE ARENA — The Warriors started cool but finished hot against the Pelicans Thursday night to secure their eleventh straight victory.
On a night when the Warriors stars were were having trouble early on, the bench stepped up at all the right moments to spark the Warriors to a 112-85 win.
A sluggish start gave the Warriors reserves motivation to step up in the second quarter. After watching Anthony Davis soar through highlight put-back slams and easy buckets, the Warriors bench scored 14 quick points to open the second quarter and climb back into the game.
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said having so many talented players across the roster is a luxury that allows for surges of effort:
“The second group came in and really changed the game momentum wise and just energy-wise. LB (Barbosa), Shaun, Andre, and Mo (Speights) they came in and really defended and we went on a nice run which seemed to get the game in our favor.”
With another impressive outing from Marreese Speights (12 points) leading the bench along with Andre Iguodala and Leandro Barbosa each chipping in six, the Splash Brothers and company were given room to breathe.
Down by as many as eight points in the first quarter, the Warriors held the Pelicans to just 12 second-quarter points and put together a scoring stretch that gave them a 53-40 advantage leading into halftime.
Stephen Curry finished the game with a 19-point, 11-assist double-double, and told SFBay that the second unit is a huge part of what the Warriors are trying to accomplish this year:
“We’ve been saying it from the start, we have such a deep team. Whatever lineup we throw out there we feel is a pretty powerful lineup and tonight we started out kinda slow and the second unit came in and did a great job closing the gap and then taking the lead.”
Golden State still hadn’t found an answer for the nimble speed of the Pelicans star, Davis, who had racked up a 17-point, 10-rebound double-double with 1:21 left in the second quarter.
Davis was finally quieted in the third quarter, taking only two shots. The Warriors were able to maintain their double-digit lead through the rest of the night and as the remaining Pelicans struggled offensively the Warriors pushed further ahead.
Now 16-2, Golden State holds the best record in the league and the longest active winning streak in the NBA. The team heads out to visit the Bulls on Saturday and Minnesota on Monday. The Warriors return home Wednesday to take on Dwight Howard and the Houston Rockets.
The Warriors won a franchise-record-tying 11th consecutive game, the longest win streak in the league this season. Golden State’s previous 11-game win streak came in the 1971-72 season. The Warriors will look to extend the streak against Chicago — who snapped the Warriors’ 11-game win streak in ’71-72 with a 110-105 victory in Chicago. … At 16-2, the Warriors are off to their best start through 18 games in the 69-year history of the franchise. … Steve Kerr is one of only four coaches to begin his NBA career with a 16-2 record or better. … Golden State is now 12-0 when holding the opposition below 100 points this season. … The Warriors committed a season-low nine turnover and dished out 30-plus assist for the sixth time this season (most in the NBA). … Anthony Davis led the Pelicans with 30 points and 15 rebounds, his fifth Career 30/15 game (second vs. Golden State).