Curry scores 40, Warriors top Hornets 116-99 to go 20-0
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Charlotte Hornets broadcaster Dell Curry told his son before Wednesday night’s game, “do not ruin my night.”
“He didn’t make any guarantees,” Curry said with a smile.
Actually, Stephen Curry ignored his father altogether.
The reigning MVP scored 40 points in three quarters and the Golden State Warriors easily defeated the Hornets 116-99 to extend the best start in NBA history to 20-0.
On a night when the Hornets honored Dell Curry, the franchise’s career scoring leader, with a “key to Buzz City,” it was his oldest son who stole the spotlight by hitting 14 of 18 shots from the field and going 8 for 11 from 3-point range.
Stephen Curry, who grew up in Charlotte and starred at nearby Davidson College, scored 28 points in the pivotal third quarter, including his team’s final 24. He hit 10 of 11 shots from the field, including all five 3s — many from well beyond the arc and in the face of a defender — to help the Warriors build a 21-point cushion.
He sat out the entire fourth quarter due to the big lead and didn’t get a shot to break his career high of 54.
“It was a cool atmosphere to play in, especially on top of my dad’s ceremony,” Stephen Curry said. “It was nice to be out there at halftime and hear his speech and stand with my mom, my sister, my aunts and my grandma. It was a good night. I can’t ask for more. To play like I did and get the win was special.”
He said the 20-0 start to the season seems surreal.
“It doesn’t even sound right,” he said. “In the NBA, with so many good players and good teams, to be able to put on a run like this is special. We don’t always play our best but we find ways to win. That’s the strength of our team. Every night a different guy might step up and have a huge game and do the little things that don’t show up in the stat sheet.”
Nicolas Batum led Charlotte with 17 points and eight rebounds.
Klay Thompson had 15 of his 21 points in the first quarter as the Warriors bolted to an early 15-point lead.
Despite missing the inside presence of center Al Jefferson — out at least two weeks with a strained left calf — and 0-for-8 shooting from Kemba Walker in the first half, the Hornets fought back to cut the lead to 60-51 at the break.
But midway through the third quarter Curry got rolling, launching deep 3-pointers, several times turning and jogging back down court well before the ball even went through the net.
Curry hit jumpers from 24, 25, 30, 29 and 30 feet in the third period.
“When he’s feeling it and shoots the ball, he’s already running to the other end of the court,” Warriors interim coach Luke Walton said. “He knows the ball’s going in before the rest of us. He’s doing an amazing job of picking his spots. He’s in his hometown and he’s the best player in the league and he wants to put on a show.”
It marked the fourth time this season Curry has scored 40 points by the end of the third quarter. The rest of the NBA combined has reached that mark just once.
Curry has six 40-point games already this season.
“Nobody has had an answer for him for two years now,” Batum said. “You try to make him work hard, but I don’t think we’ve seen anybody shoot like him — that’s pretty impressive. You have to make him work hard and hope he misses and have a bad day.”
Warriors: Golden State was 16 of 34 from 3-point range.
Hornets: Charlotte officially signed coach Steve Clifford to a multiyear contract extension. The team announced last week he had agreed to terms. ... Associate head coach Patrick Ewing missed the game after having a minor procedure on his knee. ... The Hornets wore their alternate black, short-sleeve jerseys for the first time.
Several of the NFL’s undefeated Carolina Panthers showed up to watch Curry play, including his friend Cam Newton, who wore a Hornets No. 30 jersey in support of Dell Curry. The younger Curry grew up a Panthers fan and remains a huge follower of the team.
After the game, Curry shared a hug with Newton and they talked about planning time to hang out. Curry also gave his jersey to Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis after the game.
Hornets rookie Frank Kaminsky had a career-high 16 points. The team’s first-round draft pick saw increased action with Jefferson out, as did Tyler Hansbrough.
Rebounding has been Charlotte’s Achilles’ heel and with Jefferson injured the struggles are only expected to continue. The Hornets were outrebounded 53-41.
“You can’t pick and choose when you’re going to be physical,” Clifford said. “We got beat up again on the glass.”
Warriors: At Toronto on Saturday.
Hornets: At Chicago on Saturday.