NEW ORLEANS — Stephen Curry had 31 points and 11 assists but sprained his ankle late in the game, and the Golden State Warriors came back from 21 points down late in the first half to defeat the New Orleans Pelicans 125-115 on Monday night.
Klay Thompson scored 22 points and Kevin Durant and Draymond Green each had 19 for the Warriors, who won their fourth in a row. After it was over, Curry went for X-rays on his right ankle.
Jure Holiday scored 34 and E’Twaun Moore added a career-high 27 for the Pelicans, who lost for the fourth time in five games.
DeMarcus Cousins added 19 points and 11 rebounds — but also had seven turnovers — before both he and Durant received their second technical fouls of the game while bickering in the final minutes, resulting in ejections for both players.
Trailing 69-49 at halftime, the Warriors opened the third quarter with a 15-0 run, with Durant scoring six on two dunks and a fadeaway, while Thompson and Green each added 3-pointers.
From then on, the game was tight, with the Pelicans only briefly rebuilding a lead as large as 11 on Holiday’s back-to-back 3s late in the third quarter.
Golden State regained the lead at 96-95 on Andre Iguodala’s steal and breakaway dunk with 8:31 left.
New Orleans briefly went back up 95-92 when Darius Miller hit a 3 while being fouled by Curry for a four-point play, but Nick Young responded with consecutive 3s to give Golden State the lead for good, and Green added a pair of late 3s to help seal it.
The first half featured dramatic swings in momentum.
New Orleans led by 13 late in the first quarter after a 6-0 mini-run featuring Holiday’s dunk and Cousins’ 3, but the Warriors responded with a 17-3 surge to take a 37-36 lead early in the second quarter.
Curry scored the first six points of the spurt, starting with his 21-foot jumper as he was fouled by Tony Allen.
Patrick McCaw’s 3 put Golden State in the lead, and the game was close until Rajon Rondo, who had 10 points and 11 assists, was subbed in about halfway through the second quarter. Rondo assisted on two Holiday 3s and later added two of his own from deep during a 25-5 run. Rondo’s 10th assist came on Moore’s 3, which put New Orleans up 21 points in the final minute of the first half.
C Zaza Pachulia missed his first game this season because of soreness in his left shoulder. The precise cause of the injury is a mystery. Team officials say Pachulia told them he didn’t know exactly when or how he hurt his shoulder, only that it began bothering him during Sunday night’s victory at Miami.
With Pachulia out, JaVale McGee started for the first time this season and immediately got involved. After a turnover by Cousins, McGee finished a fast break with a dunk as he was fouled for a three-point play. Minutes later, his block of Cousins’ layup attempt led to Durant’s transition 3.
McCaw left in the second quarter after getting hit on the nose when Cousins followed through on a blocked shot. He did not return.
GIANTS PROGRESS REPORT
2017 FINISH: 64-98 (5th in NL West)
MANAGER: Bruce Bochy (902-880, 12th season)
PERSONNEL EXECUTIVE: Brian Sabean, executive vice president of baseball operations (4th season)
DOLLARS AND SENSE
Highest-paid player: RHP Johnny Cueto ($21.8 million in 2018)
Top returning position player: C Buster Posey (4.0 WAR in 2017, baseball-reference.com)
Top returning pitcher: LHP Madison Bumgarner (2.9 WAR in 2017)
Key addition(s): 3B Evan Longoria (trade), OF Andrew McCutchen (trade), OF Austin Jackson (free agent), LHP Tony Watson (free agent), LHP Derek Holland (minor league free agent), 3B Chase d’Arnaud (minor league free agent), RHP Jose Valdez (minor league free agent), C Hector Sanchez (minor league free agent), RHP Casey Kelly (minor league free agent).
Key subtraction(s): RHP Matt Cain (retired), 1B Michael Morse (free agent), LHP Matt Moore (trade), OF Denard Span (trade), SS Christian Arroyo (trade), RHP Kyle Crick (trade).
Baseball America top-100 prospect(s): OF Heliot Ramos (No. 79).
STORYLINES TO WATCH
The Giants had won three World Series, made four postseason berths and finished third or better in the NL West since the start of 2009 before injuries played a part in burying them in the basement of the division last year. They’re hoping veteran additions — from trades for Pirates OF Andrew McCutchen (31) and Rays 3B Evan Longoria (32) to the signing of OF Austin Jackson (31) — reposition them for contention in 2018 in baseball’s toughest division.
The shoulder injury sustained in a dirt bike accident limited LHP Madison Bumgarner to a career-low 17 starts. Now he’s out again with a broken left pinkie finger. RHP Johnny Cueto (1.7 WAR) fought himself and injuries in his second year in San Francisco. Those two reverting to form alone would boost the Giants’ stock in 2018.
RHP Mark Melancon signed a four-year, $62 million pact before the 2017 season to shore up the Giants’ bullpen only to have forearm trouble limit him to 30 not-so-great innings. The Giants will look for him to bounce back from a September surgery.
— San Diego Union-Tribune