Curry scores season-high 45 points, Warriors beat Clippers
By TIM LIOTTA
LOS ANGELES (AP) Points came easily for Steph Curry on Saturday. Eleven in his first five minutes, 17 before the game was 8 1/2 minutes old.
"I just wanted to start off the game right," Curry said. "It's obviously weird starting a game at 12:30 (p.m.). You've got to find that energy and something to build momentum, especially early."
He finished with a season-high 45 points without playing the fourth quarter and the Golden State Warriors ran away from the Los Angeles Clippers 121-105 for their fourth straight victory.
"I knew right away, when I got free for a couple of threes in the first quarter and they went down, I got in a rhythm," Curry said. "Beyond that, you just keep your head down and keep shooting and stay aggressive."
Curry took advantage of the guard-depleted Clippers, making 11 of 21 shots, including 8 of 16 3-pointers, going against rookie Juwan Evans and G-League call-up Tyrone Wallace.
In the four games since missing 11 with an ankle injury, Curry has averaged 36 points on 58 percent shooting, 54 percent beyond the arc.
"He's been on fire. Maybe the break was good for him," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "He's been amazing."
Said Curry: "Coming off the injury, obviously I've got fresh legs, a nice rhythm. I was able to put some good work in the week and a half before I got back on the floor."
The Clippers' Blake Griffin suffered a concussion late in the first quarter when he stumbled driving into the lane from the right wing and hit his head on JaVale McGee's right elbow. Griffin fell to the floor immediately, and remained down for several minutes as team physicians tended to him. He walked off under his own power and went to the locker room.
"Blake's a pretty tough guy, he should be OK," teammate DeAndre Jordan said. "But we definitely want him to be cautious and do whatever he needs to do to be OK."
Nick Young and JaVale McGee each scored 11 points, and Klay Thompson and David West added 10 apiece for Golden State, playing with Kevin Durant sidelined by a right calf strain. The Warriors improved to 17-2 since Nov. 27.
Lou Williams scored 23 points, and Jordan added 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Clippers. They lost their 12th straight to the Warriors, dating to Dec. 25, 2014.
Tyrone Wallace, signed Friday, added 13 points in his first game for Los Angeles.
Tied at 50 with 3:30 left in the second quarter, the Warriors went on a 23-9 run, capping the stretch with Curry hitting a 3-pointer with 8:41 left in a third quarter.
Golden State went up 103-73 on McGee's dunk with 55 seconds in a quarter that would see the Warriors outscore on the Clippers 39-22 for a 103-76 lead with 12 minutes to play.
"We had a big third quarter, which is what we wanted," Kerr said. "At halftime we talked about it. Let's break free and make sure everybody gets out there and plays. That third quarter was important for us, but this was mainly about Steph tonight."
Warriors: The Warriors won their 10th straight road game, improving their road record to 17-3. Thompson hit a 3-pointer with 1:06 left in the second quarter, extending his streak of games with a made 3-pointer to 94, the longest active run. F Andre Iguodala started for the third time this season.
Clippers: F Sam Dekker made his first start of the season. In the first two starts, rookie Juwan Evans has drawn the assignment of guarding Russell Westbrook two nights ago and Steff Curry this afternoon.
CHANGING OF THE GUARDS
With guards Austin Rivers (right ankle) and MilosTeodosic (sore plantar fasciitis) out with injuries, the Clippers were forced to waive F Jamil Wilson, who had started 10 games and averaged 7.0 points on 46 percent shooting, on Friday. In Wilson's place, G Tyrone Wallace was singed a two-way contract.
"We don't have enough guards," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "When Milos went out the other night, we didn't have enough players to playa the game. I don't know if I've ever had to cut a guy because we don't have enough guys at a position. That's what we had to do. It's a tough one."
After dramatic victories in back-to-back games over Dallas and Houston, Warriors coach Steve Kerr worried about how the Warriors would react to the game's 12:30 p.m. starting time.
"It's a genuine concern," Kerr said. "Particularly because it was a unique back-to-back in Dallas, with travel back from Houston. We had a lot of flying, a couple of late nights in a row, and then an early start. This has a very different feel for a game."
Warriors: At Milwaukee on Monday night.
Clippers: Host Atlanta on Monday night.
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Updated January 6, 2018