Stephen Curry shot the Golden State Warriors out of a dismal five-game skid and now looks to lead the club to consecutive wins for the first time this season when they face the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night in San Francisco.
The Warriors have defeated Cleveland in each of the past 10 regular-season meetings.
Curry was a scintillating 17 of 24 from the field while scoring a season-high 47 points on Monday to help the Warriors end an unusual — for them — long slide. He splashed in seven 3-pointers in the 116-113 win over the Sacramento Kings to help Golden State improve to 4-7.
“Steph was breathtaking,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said afterward. “He’s one of the greatest players of all time. He plays well on so many nights (but) this even seemed like something special for him.”
The heroics were magnified under the scope of a losing streak that saw the Warriors allow an average of 121.6 points on an 0-5 road trip. The poor stretch included losses to the Charlotte Hornets, Detroit Pistons and Orlando Magic.
The performance wasn’t fitting of the defending NBA champions but Curry allowed that things might be different with this version of the team.
“That’s the story of this team,” Curry said. “As vets, you understand every year is a little different and you are ready for that challenge. For these young guys to try and find themselves in this league and also a specific role, it’s challenging.”
Curry was fresh in his first outing since a 130-129 loss to Orlando last Thursday. Kerr held Curry and fellow starters Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins out of Friday’s 114-105 setback to the host New Orleans Pelicans.
Wiggins scored 25 points, Thompson had 16 and Green contributed 11 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
Cleveland has dropped its past two games and is 2-2 entering the finale of a five-game road trip.
The Cavaliers lost 127-120 to the Kings on Wednesday despite receiving 38 points from offseason acquisition Donovan Mitchell, who made 16 of 28 field-goal attempts.
Mitchell has scored 30 or more points in eight of 10 games played and is averaging an eye-popping 31.9 points per game. His highest average in five seasons with the Utah Jazz was 26.4.
But Mitchell wasn’t happy after the loss to the Kings. Cleveland gave up 69 first-half points to trail by 11 and didn’t show the same pizzazz it has in most of the early portion of the season.
“We can’t come out and expect to just turn it on,” Mitchell said. “Just really on us to make that effort as a group. Has nothing to do with offense. It’s really just our defense. We pride ourselves on that and that’s what we’ve been even before I got here and for us to be who we are, we have to be really solid defensively and we weren’t the past two games.
“We’ve relied heavily on the offense and hoping that the offense carries us. That’s not what we do.”
Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff also was discouraged by the performance.
“That’s arrogant basketball. You can’t survive in the NBA playing that way,” Bickerstaff said. “Teams are too good, guys are too good. If we want to be a good basketball team, we need to remember who we are and we need to play Cavaliers basketball. If we don’t do those things, we’ll have nights like this.”
–Field Level Media