OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Stephen Curry pulled one from Michael Jordan’s old celebratory playbook and shrugged like no big deal whatsoever.
Nah, not at all. Just another 3-pointer from way downtown.
Curry grinned as he kept lighting up the floor, scoring 51 points and finishing with 11 3-pointers in only three quarters of the Golden State Warriors’ 144-122 victory over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.
“The last 3 in the first quarter was probably the funniest thing I’ve experienced on the court. Two guys on our team are yelling at the time from the time I was at the free throw line: ‘Don’t pass it! Don’t pass it! You better shoot it!’ All that type of stuff,” Curry said. “That’s going through my head while I’m dribbling down. That’s kind of all the motivation you need just to launch it. Thankfully it went in.”
Coach Steve Kerr couldn’t even be upset when his superstar let it fly from any distance he desired: “You got a guy taking 40-footers and you’re on the sideline going, ‘Yeah, that’s a good shot,'” Kerr said.
Kevin Durant added 30 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, and Draymond Green had 11 of his 12 assists in the first half to help two-time defending champions finish with 37 after dishing out 35 assists in a 20-point victory against Phoenix on Monday.
But this was all Curry’s show. No. 30 knocked down his 11th 3 of the night late in the third from 32 feet back.
“It’s just one of those nights you just have so much fun playing the game,” Curry said. “Taking some dare shots and trying to sustain that for as long as I’m out there on the floor.”
He scored 31 in the first half, finished with his sixth career 50-point game and made 10 or more 3s for the 10th time. The 51 points matched his most at Oracle Arena.
Curry hit his first five 3-pointers then after his fifth one drove to the basket and was fouled. He made two free throws to chants of “MVP! MVP!” The two-time winner of the award had the ninth 30-point half of his career and fourth at home.
“It was a joy to be on the same court with that. That was sick,” Durant said.
The “MVP!” cheers continued. Curry shot 15 for 24, 11 of 16 from 3-point range and made all 10 free throws, missing his career high of 54 set in February 2013 by three points.
“He was, I don’t even know how to describe what I witnessed tonight, amazing, video-game stuff,” Kerr said. “… Some of the shooting was just mind-boggling. Nobody’s ever done what he’s doing, pulling up from I don’t know, 32.”
Curry has scored 30 or more points in four of the first five games and had 29 on Monday against Phoenix, also playing just three quarters. He has hit at least five 3-pointers in each game so far.
Bradley Beal bruised his sternum early then returned late in the first half and wound up with 23 points. Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 17 points off the bench for Washington.
Beal said he took an elbow from Durant. X-rays were negative.
“Breathing was a little messed up and it felt like my rib was out of place,” Beal said. “It hurts but I’ll be OK.”
Wizards: C Ian Mahinmi missed the game with back spasms, Jason Smith starting in his place. … Washington hasn’t won at Golden State since Jan. 28, 2014, a five-game skid. The Wizards have dropped 10 of 12 on the Warriors’ home floor.
Warriors: Golden State had its first 80-point half since scoring 81 in the first half Jan. 13 at Toronto. … Curry’s third 3 of the night at the 3:30 mark in the first moved him past Jamal Crawford (2,153) for fifth place on the NBA’s career list. Curry now has 2,162 3s. He notched the 22nd 20-point quarter of his career and seventh in the opening period. … G Shaun Livingston returned from a two-game absence nursing a bruised left knee. … This marked Golden State’s initial matchup against the Eastern Conference so far and first of four straight with an upcoming three-game road trip to New York, Brooklyn and Chicago. The Warriors went 24-6 vs. the East last season, 11-4 at home.
The Warriors honored the 1975 championship team, which swept the Washington Bullets 4-0 in the finals that year. Five members of the team attended morning shootaround then Hall of Famer Rick Barry joined the group for the game.
Six players and assistant coach Joe Roberts took turns hoisting the trophy during a ceremony before the second quarter. Coach Al Attles wasn’t in attendance as originally planned because he wasn’t feeling well.
Golden State sported gold throwback jerseys for the occasion.
Klay Thompson missed his first three 3-point tries before connecting with 6:36 left in the third and scored 19 points.
Thompson is 4 for 27 from long range through the initial five games.
“One thing I love about Klay is he’s going to shoot his way out of anything,” Kerr said.
Wizards: At Sacramento on Friday.
Warriors: At Knicks on Friday.
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