Secret weapon: Warriors dial up more third quarter magic to beat Orlando

Secret weapon: Warriors dial up more third quarter magic to beat Orlando

Superman has his phone booth, Popeye his spinach and Ali had his rope-a-dope. The greats often have a secret weapon to be unleashed upon opponents who dare pose a threat.

The Warriors of the NBA have the third quarter.

Twelve masterful minutes, customarily the third quarter, is all they need to turn all anxieties to swagger and perspiration into perfume.

It was, on cue, the third quarter that doomed the temporarily uppity Magic in a 118-98 victory on Sunday at Amway Center in Orlando.

Tied 50-50 and down five (55-50) 90 seconds into the third quarter, the Warriors went on a 19-2 tear to go up 12 with 6:54 left. Orlando, which had been encouraged by outplaying the Warriors for the first 25-plus minutes, was powerless to prevent the onslaught.

“We found our energy and execution and stopped turning the ball over,” Stephen Curry, who scored a game-high 27 points, including 7-of-13 shooting from deep, told reporters in Florida. “And after that, we got stops and our talent plays over on the offensive end. It is nice to see shots going in obviously, but you have to get stops and take care of the basketball to get that done.”

The Warriors (38-6) shot 41.9 percent for the field and committed 12 turnovers in the first half, leading to 13 Magic points. Only one Orlando starter, point guard Elfrid Payton, shot less than 50 percent and he was 3-of-8.

So the Warriors, whose sloppy first half could be attributed to the usually early start (9 a.m. Pacific), reached for the prescription that best cures their every ailment. They turned to ferocious defense, which generated torrential offense. They outscored the Magic 42-24 in the third quarter, pretty much putting away the game.

“For whatever reason, we’ve had a bunch really good third quarters in the last couple of weeks,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “It seems to be the time when we pick up our defense and it translates into some transition hoops and 3-pointers. I don’t know why, but that seems to be the key time for us these days.”

The third-quarter blitzes are more than a trend. It’s becoming an almost predictable act of magic.

The Warriors have outscored opponents in the third in 17 of their last 19 games -- with the margin double digits on nine of those occasions. In seven of those 17 games, they were tied or trailing at the half. They lost only two of those games, to the Cavs and the Grizzlies, to both of whom they blew sizable fourth-quarter leads.

Furthermore, the Warriors’ plus-268 points differential in the third quarter is by far the best in the NBA.

It was, indeed, the third quarter that shook them from the stupor of those early Sunday wakeup calls.

“There was no morning,” Draymond Green said. “It was wake up, grab some food, put on some sweats, and get out of there. I think my bus was 9:30 a.m. That’s 6:30 a.m. West Coast time . . . it was brutal.”

Must be nice to know that even on brutal days, and even after a throwaway first half, they can usually find enough lightning in the third quarter to find victory.

Curry passes Stojakovic on all-time 3-point list

Curry passes Stojakovic on all-time 3-point list

Stephen Curry passed a familiar face on Sunday in Orlando.

With his 3-pointer at the 6:54 mark in the third quarter against the Magic, Curry moved past former Kings star Peja Stojakovic on the all-time 3-point list.

Curry entered the game trailing Stojakovic by four (1,756 to 1,760). He finished the game with seven made 3-pointers and now sits alone in 13th place all-time with 1,763.

Next on the all-time list is Rashard Lewis with 1,787.

“Records are meant to be broken,” Stojakovic told CSNCalifornia.com last week. “Steph is definitely a guy, that if he continues to shoot - him and Klay (Thompson), if they continue to stay on the same pace, they can climb all the way to one and two.”

When Stojakovic retired after the 2010-11 season, he ranked fourth all-time in made 3-pointers. Since than, he's been passed by Jason Terry, Paul Pierce, Vince Carter, Jamal Crawford, Kyle Korver, Joe Johnson, Chauncey Billups, Kobe Bryant, Lewis and now Curry.

All-time made 3-pointers list:
1.    Ray Allen    2973
2.    Reggie Miller    2560
3.    Jason Terry    2199*
4.    Paul Pierce    2137*
5.    Vince Carter    1996*
6.    Jason Kidd    1988
7.    Jamal Crawford     1983*
8.    Kyle Korver    1964*
9.    Joe Johnson    1882*
10.    Chauncey Billups    1830
11.    Kobe Bryant    1827
12.    Rashard Lewis    1787
13.    Stephen Curry    1763*
14.    Peja Stojakovic    1760

(*) denotes active player

Instant Replay: Warriors surge in second half to take down Magic

Instant Replay: Warriors surge in second half to take down Magic

BOX SCORE

After an understandably drowsy first half, the Warriors snapped awake after intermission Sunday and raced off with a 118-98 win over the Orlando Magic.

It was the seventh consecutive win for the Warriors, who lifted their record to an NBA-best 38-6.

Clearly affected by the noon tipoff (9 a.m. Pacific) at Amway Center, the Warriors committed 12 turnovers in the first half before settling in and totaling seven giveaways in the second.

Six Warriors scored in double figures, with Stephen Curry pouring in 27 points in three quarters to lead the way. Klay Thompson finished with 21 points, Kevin Durant 15 and Zaza Pachulia 15. JaVale McGee added 12 and Pat McCaw put in 10.

Orlando (18-28) lost for the ninth time in 11 games. Guard Elfrid Payton was the Magic’s leading scorer, with 23 points.

STANDOUT PERFORMER

Nearly all of the Warriors eventually woke up, but none did so with the energy and enthrallment of Curry.

Curry’s line: 27 points (8-of-15 from the field, including 7-of-13 from deep, 4-of-4 from the line), six assists and three rebounds. He played 30 minutes and finished plus-32 for the game.

With his seven 3-pointers, Curry (1,763) passed Peja Stojakovic (1,760) to move into 13th place on the all-time list. Next up is Rashard Lewis (1,787).

TURNING POINT

Trailing 55-50 with 10:30 left in the third quarter, the Warriors perked up and roared back with a 19-2 run punctuated by a Curry 3-point bomb to go up 69-57 with 6:54 left in the quarter.

The Warriors outscored the Magic 42-24 in the quarter, taking a 92-74 lead. Orlando got no closer than 18 in the fourth.

INJURY UPDATE

Warriors: G Shaun Livingston (rest) was a healthy inactive. F/C David West (L thumb fracture) was listed as out.

Magic: G Evan Fournier (R foot soreness) was listed as questionable and downgraded to out. G Jodie Meeks (R thumb sprain) and G C. J. Wilcox (L Achilles tendinitis) were listed as out.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Warriors go back to work Monday, when they face the Heat at American Airlines Arena in Miami. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.