50-point 3rd quarter fuels Warriors win
OAKLAND - Stephen Curry scored 17 of his 35 points in a 3-point flurry over the final 3:37 of the third quarter, and the two-time reigning MVP also had seven rebounds, five assists and four steals as the Warriors used a big second half to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 123-113 on Thursday night.
Curry's four-point play with 30.7 seconds left in the third and buzzer-beating 3 to punctuate the one-sided period propelled Golden State. Curry and Kevin Durant combined for eight of their team's nine 3-pointers in the third.
The Warriors scored 50 points in the quarter after trailing 61-49 at halftime. It was the NBA's first 50-point quarter since the Lakers had 51 against the Knicks on March 25, 2014.
Durant scored 15 of his 25 points in the third and also contributed 15 rebounds and seven assists as the NBA-best Warriors (48-9) began the stretch run with a downright dominant second half.
Austin Rivers and Jamal Crawford scored 19 points apiece and DeAndre Jordan had 17 and 11 rebounds as the Clippers missed Chris Paul for a 14th consecutive game as he recovers from surgery last month for a torn ligament in his left thumb. Los Angeles had its four-game winning streak snapped.
Jordan received a technical at halftime as players were walking off the court.
Klay Thompson scored 18 points and had his streak of eight games in a row scoring 20 or more points snapped. It matched the longest such streak of his career, from Dec. 2-16, 2014.
Golden State welcomed back starting center Zaza Pachulia after he missed eight games with a right shoulder injury and backup big man David West, who missed 14 games with a non-displaced fracture in his left thumb.
Pachulia had three blocked shots in five minutes of the first quarter and finished with a career-best four.
After the Clippers took a 144-98 beating in their last visit to Oracle Arena on Jan. 28, they controlled the game for the first two quarters. That 46-point win matched the largest margin of victory in the series.
Golden State won its 10th in a row in the rivalry.
So, how did Los Angeles feel about facing the NBA's best team immediately out of the All-Star break?
“I kind of like jumping back in, personally,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said of starting with the Warriors. “I did as a player. I would rather get going.”
BOGUT ON THE MOVE?
Former Warriors center Andrew Bogut was traded from the Dallas Mavericks to the Philadelphia 76ers before Thursday's trade deadline.
He is unlikely to remain in Philadelphia. Rumors are that the Sixers and Bogut will work together on a buyout, planting him on the free agency market to sign elsewhere.
But not Golden State. That's against NBA rules. If you trade a player - like the Warriors did with Bogut on July 7 - you can't reacquire him until the NBA calendar flips again the next July 1.
It's known by some as the Zydrunas Ilgauskas rule. Back in 2010, the Cavaliers traded Ilgauskas near the deadline to Washington for an Antawn Jamison package, watched Ilgauskas get bought out and then re-signed him after what was then a 30-day restriction.
Many grumbled about the move. The league changed it to a year.
It's worth monitoring where Bogut may land. Among his potential destinations: the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are rumored to be interested. That would jolt another layer of intrigue into a potential NBA Finals rematch to the rematch.
While Paul's return today against the Spurs was “iffy” in Rivers' mind, the point guard is likely to be back in the next couple of games - with Sunday's home game against Charlotte sounding like a real possibility.
Paul went through an intense workout Thursday.
“He's really close,” Rivers said. “He looked good the last two days but I thought he was a little hesitant.”
Clippers: Los Angeles shot 13 free throws in the third. ... The Clippers have lost 11 in a row at Oracle since a 105-86 victory on Dec. 25, 2011 - and their last win at home or on the road was also a Christmas Day game, in 2014. ... Los Angeles has lost its last six when playing the second night of back-to-backs after winning the initial five this season.
Warriors: Golden State recorded its first 50-point period since 1989 and the fourth in franchise history. The nine 3s in the quarter matched a franchise record. ... Durant bruised his left pinkie when he fell in the opening quarter. X-rays were negative and he returned. ... Golden State committed 12 first-half turnovers, the total coach Steve Kerr strives for over an entire game.
Clippers: Host San Antonio on Friday night looking for their fourth consecutive home victory in the series.
Warriors: Host Brooklyn on Saturday before a stretch with eight games in 12 days including an East Coast trip, return to the Bay Area then back-to-back on March 10-11 at Minnesota and San Antonio.
The San Jose Mercury News contributed to this report.