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Stephen Curry explodes for 45 as Golden State Warriors annihilate Los Angeles Clippers

By
Dave Del Grande, The Sports Xchange
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry in catchers stance prior to game. Photo by Jon SooHoo/UPI
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry in catchers stance prior to game. Photo by Jon SooHoo/UPI | License Photo

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Instead of celebrating one of his signature shots at the end of the second quarter Saturday night, Golden State Warriors All-Star guard Stephen Curry took time at halftime to reflect on something his college coach once told him.

It led to even greater things following the break than before it.

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Riding the momentum of a 51-foot, buzzer-beating swish at the end of the first half, Curry bombed in five 3-pointers in a personal 25-point, third-quarter explosion, helping the Warriors run away from the Los Angeles Clippers in a 144-98 shellacking in the NBA's featured matchup on Chinese New Year.

"My coach at Davidson College, Bob McKillop, always talked about 'Big Mo' going into the half," recalled Curry, a standout at the North Carolina school from 2006-09. "You make a shot like (the half-courter), obviously I was thinking about it at the half. Then I hit my first shot in the third, and I really got it going from there. Big Mo."

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Playing at home for the first time since the formal announcement that he'll be an All-Star starter next month, Curry poured in a game-high 43 points, delivering the Warriors (40-7) their eighth consecutive regular-season victory over their Pacific Division rival.

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The 46-point margin of victory was Golden State's biggest of the season. The Clippers, meanwhile, hadn't previously lost by more than 26 this year.

"We just got embarrassed on national television," Clippers guard Austin Rivers harshly noted afterward. "Nobody's feeling good right now, I can tell you that."

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Curry connected from one stride beyond the midcourt line at the end of the second quarter, but his best was yet to come.

After the nostalgic trip into his past during the halftime break, Curry was good on eight of his 11 shots in the third period, including five of his eight 3-point attempts. He had 25 of Golden State's 45 points that turned a 21-point halftime lead into a 117-74 blowout.

"I have to be aggressive," insisted Curry, whose 25-point quarter was his biggest of the season. "We have a lot of talent. So for me, there's a balancing act to it. If continue to be aggressive, good things will come out of it."

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Despite not playing in the fourth period, Curry recorded his third 40-point game of the season and came within three of his season-high, set in November against New Orleans.

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Kevin Durant complemented Curry with 23 points and a team-high seven assists, and Klay Thompson had 16 points for the Warriors, who notched their fifth straight home win.

Curry (9-for-15), Durant (3-for-4) and Thompson (2-for-3) combined for 14-for-22 shooting from 3-point range, as the Warriors made half their 34 attempts from beyond the arc as a team.

The Warriors made 62.0 percent of their shots in all (57 of 92).

Curry also found time for a team-high nine rebounds and six assists, helping Golden State gain a 48-32 advantage on the boards and record 30-plus assists for the 31st time this season with 35. The Warriors are now 30-1 when logging 30 or more assists in a game.

"The overall dynamics within the team have been established," Warriors coach Steve Kerr observed of his club, which added Durant in the offseason. "I think what Steph has realized is he can be himself."

Blake Griffin, playing for just the second time since returning from knee surgery, led the Clippers with 20 points.

He had more important matters than his personal point total to talk about afterward.

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"We didn't play with the right type of attitude of whatever you want to call it," Griffin observed. "We just kind of went through the motions. We didn't attack. We had two great days of practice where we were attacking. And then to come here on this stage and not to do it is embarrassing."

J.J. Redick added 13 points for Los Angeles (30-18), which hasn't beaten the Warriors in the regular season since Christmas Day in 2014.

The Clippers fell to 1-4 since losing star guard Chris Paul to thumb surgery.

"Once they got going and got the lead, the game was over," insisted Clippers coach Doc Rivers. "I thought we gave in way too easy. You should never lose by this much at anything in any situation."

The Warriors gained an immediate upper hand in the game when Griffin drew two early fouls and was pulled in the contest's fifth minute.

Golden State went up by as many as 11 in the quarter, then pulled away with a 41-point second period that featured 5-for-5 shooting on 3-pointers. Curry had two 3s in the run, including his curtain-closer as the halftime horn was sounding.

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NOTES: Warriors PG Stephen Curry had been questionable for the game because of a sore quad, but he passed a pregame test during warmups and was cleared to play. Curry and F Kevin Durant are the only Warriors to have played in all 47 games this season. ... The Warriors' 46-point margin of victory equalled their largest ever against the Clippers. ... The Warriors became the first team in NBA history to win at least 40 of their first 50 games three seasons in a row. ... Warriors veteran SF Andre Iguodala celebrated his 33rd birthday by recording his 5,000th career rebound. ... Both coaching staffs wore bow ties to honor former National Basketball Coaches Association executive director Michael Goldberg, who died earlier this month.

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