Stephen Curry has returned — and all it took was getting matched up with the person once deemed the Curry stopper. Oracle greeted Matthew Dellavedova with resounding boos, but Curry seemed ecstatic to be guarded by his old nemesis.
Curry finished with 28 points on 9-of-13 and his absolute destruction of Dellavedova — a minus-18 in 26 minutes of action — paced the Warriors (55-14) to a 117-92 victory over the Bucks Saturday.
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It was no coincidence that the Steph show started when the Aussie checked in with a little more than three minutes to go in the first.
Curry went to work immediately, ending the first quarter with 10 points and one step-back 3-pointer over Dellavedova reminiscent of the one from the Finals.
Steph with the splash before the buzzer pic.twitter.com/Es8pFrNagH
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) March 19, 2017
But Curry wasn’t through, as he feasted from the 3-point line connecting six times from deep and pulled out a vintage shot from the logo.
Steph from the logo 💦 pic.twitter.com/uJi00pMVzl
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) March 19, 2017
Curry was about to say any shot is a good shot in that situation, but caught himself and instead said it was a decent shot:
“As soon as I got the rebound Shaun was telling me two-for-one. And I kind of just zeroed in on a spot I wanted to pull up from and it worked out.”
Curry had been trudging through the toughest shooting stretch of his career, topping 50 percent from the field just five times in his past 20 games and shooting a Russell Westbrook-like 41.4 percent in the month of March.
But Saturday’s shooting display — coupled with his second half against Orlando Thursday — seems to point towards Curry returning to MVP form. At the very least, he’s shown a willingness to let those deep shots fly again, which is always a good sign.
[su_button url=”https://sfbay.ca/2017/03/18/kevin-durant-shoots-and-jumps-in-warriors-practice/” style=”flat” background=”#ebe6e5″ color=”#603813″ size=”5″ wide=”yes” icon_color=”#603813″ text_shadow=”1px 1px 0px #fff” class=”dark-brown”]RELATED Kevin Durant shoots, jumps at Warriors practice.[/su_button]
The game started out way less encouraging though as the Bucks dismantled an out of sync Warriors defense and went up by as much as 14 in the first quarter. But the Warriors exploded in the second quarter, outscoring the Bucks 36-14 to put the game away before halftime.
Draymond Green, who had eight points, eight rebounds and 10 assists said that the team just wasn’t defending early:
“And necessarily just that we didn’t defend but we didn’t come up with the loose balls, we didn’t come up with the 50-50 balls and they were scoring off those. Once we buckled down and got stops, actually rebounded the basketball, got the loose balls and got off to the races, the entire game changed. And we never looked back.”
The momentum of the game really shifted when JaVale McGee subbed in during the first quarter. He brought much needed energy to the Warriors in a way Zaza Pachulia just didn’t. McGee would finish a perfect 4-of-4 from the field for eight points and was also a plus-18 in his 12 minutes — the same plus-minus as Curry.
Pachulia, on the other hand, was a minus-8 in a game the Warriors won by 25 — not great.
Kerr said that the length of McGee was what the Warriors needed to combat the length of the Bucks:
“Milwaukee is such an athletic long team and their length really bothered us the first five or six minutes. JaVale really gave us a good lift when he came in there.”
But it wasn’t just the offense that was clicking, defensively the Warriors held the Bucks to just 40.4 percent from the field and completely shut down Giannis Antetokounmpo who finished with just nine points on 4-of-14 shooting.
Who else but Green led the charge, and it’s something he takes great pride in:
“I take a lot of pride in defending my man definitely, but also helping. I think a help side defender is just as important as a lockdown defender. You’re actually in help more than you are on the ball a lot of the time.”
Andre Iguodala continued his resurgence from his vacation to the fountain of youth and finished with 15 points. Iguodala and Klay Thompson—who finished with 21—provided all the other offense the Warriors needed, as they were the only two players besides Curry to finish in double figures.
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And with Curry seemingly in post-slump form, that may be all the help he needs.
After three games at home the Warriors head back out on the road yet again where they will take on their new-age rivals the Oklahoma City Thunder Monday. The Thunder currently sit in sixth place in the West and could theoretically see the Warriors in the first round of the playoffs.
Draymond Green‘s one steal on the night extended his streak of games with at least one steal to a career high 27-straight games. Green’s been a monster on the defensive end this season, his 2.14 steals per game lead the entire NBA and adds just another reason he is the frontrunner for Defensive Player of the Year. … Kevon Looney wasn’t with the team as he was assigned to Santa Cruz for the second time this season. Looney has averaged 11.5 points and 8.5 rebounds for the Santa Cruz Warriors in his two games since being assigned.