Stephen Curry scores 36 in Golden State Warriors' 50th win

By Stan Awtrey, The Sports Xchange  |  Feb. 23, 2016 at 1:09 AM
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ATLANTA -- The Golden State Warriors become the fastest team in NBA history to reach 50 wins. But it wasn't easy.

The Warriors wasted a 23-point lead in the third period and relied on a fourth-quarter surge to beat back the Atlanta Hawks 102-92 Monday.

"We're right on track," said guard Stephen Curry. "We're not complacent, trying to get better, finding different ways to win. We understand our potential, but we're not getting ahead of ourselves. Fifty wins is great, but we've got to keep plugging away and stay hungry."

Curry and backcourt mate Klay Thompson scored a combined 63 points for the Warriors, now 50-5.

Curry was 14-for-22 from the field and shot 5-for-11 on 3-pointers while finishing with 36 points, eight assists and six rebounds. Curry has made a 3-pointer in 126 consecutive regular-season games, one shy of matching the all-time record held by Atlanta's Kyle Korver. It was his league-leading 25th game of 30 points or more.

Thompson also had five 3-pointers, and he scored 12 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter. Forward Harrison Barnes added 14 points and matched his season high with three 3-point baskets. Center Andrew Bogut returned after missing a game with a sore Achilles and had 11 rebounds and five blocked shots.

Atlanta (31-27) lost its third game in a row and fell for the fifth time in six games. The Hawks have lost four straight at home for the first time since 2007.

"I think the effort that we gave, even including the first quarter when they scored 30 points, I think our guys competed," Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer said. "They got after it defensively. I think we made it as difficult as you can in a lot of situations."

The Hawks were led by center Al Horford with 23 points, 16 rebounds and five blocks, and guard Dennis Schroder came off the bench to score 18. Guard Jeff Teague had 16 points and six assists. Forward Paul Millsap had 11 points and seven rebounds, and guard Tim Hardaway Jr. added 12 points.

"A loss is a loss, but we'll take what we can from it," Millsap said. "We definitely competed tonight."

The game looked as if it would be a blowout until the third quarter.

The Warriors hit the first three 3-pointers they attempted to race to a quick lead. Golden State had a 10-point edge with 5:50 left in the first quarter and stretched it to 30-15 at the buzzer on a 3-pointer from guard Leandro Barbosa.

Atlanta got to within 37-30 on a jumper from Horford, but the Warriors responded with a 17-7 run to push the lead to 17.

Budenholzer expressed his frustration with the referees from the onset, once calling a timeout so he could berate official Michael Smith. It reached a peak when Horford had a shot knocked away on a drive to the basket, which caused Budenholzer to run down the court behind Smith and pick up a technical foul.

The Warriors built the lead to 58-39 at halftime, the 19-point lead coming when Curry hit an off-balanced jumper with one second left. The Warriors made 10 3-pointers in the half and outscored the Hawks 16-0 on fast-break points.

Atlanta trailed 70-47 on Curry's driving finger roll with 6:58 left in the third. But with Horford and Schroder each scoring eight points, the Hawks went on a 28-6 run and drew to within a point at the end of three quarters, 76-75.

"It seemed like we had both ends of the court working," Budenholzer said. "It felt like we were getting out in the open court and maybe finding some situations where they were mismatched or we were attacking a non-set defense."

The Hawks took the lead on a basket by Horford and led 80-76 on a 3-pointer by forward Thabo Sefolosha. However, the Warriors responded with a 17-4 run that put the game away.

"They were smoking hot in the third quarter," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "But I always tell our guys, it's a 48-minute game and as long as we take care of the ball, that's a lot of possessions the other teams has to guard us. It was really our defense that turned it around."

NOTES: The Warriors signed C Anderson Varejao and released F Jason Thompson. Varejao cleared waivers after being released by Portland following a trade from Cleveland last week. He is expected to provide relief in the middle, as Andrew Bogut is nursing a tender Achilles tendon, and Festus Ezeli will be sidelined for the next month following knee surgery. Thompson appeared in 28 games and made one start for Golden State. He was averaging 2.1 points and 1.9 rebounds in 6.4 minutes per game. The nine-year veteran was acquired from Philadelphia last summer for F Gerald Wallace and cash. ... Atlanta G Jeff Teague was in the starting lineup after tweaking his right wrist Saturday in a loss to Milwaukee. ... Warriors F James Michael McAdoo (sprained toe) did not play. ... Up next: Atlanta hosts Chicago on Friday night. Golden State continues its road trip and plays at Miami on Wednesday.

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