BY DANIEL GLUSKOTER
Energized by an epic performance by Steph Curry in his return to action, the Warriors bounced back from their worst game of the season to trounce the Memphis Grizzlies 141-128 at Oracle Arena Saturday night to close the year on a high note.
The Warriors went 9-2 in Curry’s absence, but were coming off of there worst loss of the season last night, an embarrassing 11 point loss to the dreadful Charlotte Hornets in which they were throughly outplayed. Showing no signs of rust, Curry wasted little time flashing his two time MVP form after missing nearly a month of action, establishing an NBA season high with 10 three pointers and finishing with a game high 38 points in only 26 minutes of action. It also marked the ninth time in his career that Curry has hit 10-or-more three’s, the most in NBA history.
Jumping out to a 10-0 lead in the first two minutes of the game, the Warriors trailed only briefly in the second quarter on the way to establishing a season high-tying 78 points in the first half behind 67% shooting, featuring 21 from Curry including 5-7 from behind the arc. Another sign of the quality of the finally healthy teams depth was that in spite of Draymond Green’s latest meltdown induced ejection only three minutes into the second quarter, 12 different Warriors saw action in the opening half.
Long one of the grittiest and most physical teams in the NBA, the Grizzlies fortunes have been on a unmistakable downward spiral this season. Popular coach David Fizdale was fired in late November after getting off to a 7-12 start, and the team had a significant part of its heart ripped out when it lost Zach Randolph, Tony Allen and Vince Carter to free agency during the off-season. But on Saturday night, even hitting a solid 52% of their field goals, along with converting 15 of 21 three pointers, Memphis was simply overmatched by an efficient Warriors effort that also produced a season low tying 10 turnovers.
Asked about Curry’s performance after the game, Warriors coach Steve Kerr commented, “Everything just looks better. The food’s going to taste better. My wife’s going to be even better looking than she already is. My kids are going to be happy. Steph just has that impact.”
Klay Thompson scored 21 points for Golden State while Kevin Durant added 20 with nine assists. Zaza Pachulia pitched in 17, his high as a Warrior, with perfect shooting from both the field (6-6) and free throw line (5-5) along with eight rebounds and six assists. Marc Gasol led Memphis with 27 points in just 28 minutes of action.
Ending the month with an NBA best record of 29-8, the Warriors now get the next few days off before opening a three game road trip Wednesday in Dallas.