Curry: 'We're a good team when we have a lead'
Stephen Curry was one of four Warriors who scored in double figures in a win over the Pelicans Tuesday in Oakland. (USATSI)
OAKLAND – The Warriors needed this, longed for every sweet morsel of it, from the return of much-missed Andre Iguodala to the visit from the wounded New Orleans Pelicans to the resurgent effort from David Lee.
Nothing heals a suffering, foundering team quite like a blowout victory, which the Warriors (14-12) fashioned with a cathartic 104-93 hammering of the overmatched Pelicans (11-12).
The game was not as close as the score might indicate, as New Orleans mounted a small comeback in the fourth quarter to trim what had been a 26-point difference.
Four Warriors scored in double figures, led by 28 points (on 11-of-18 shooting) from Stephen Curry. The Warriors dominated the boards (58-44), with Lee grabbing 17 and Andrew Bogut another 10.
Revived by Iguodala's presence after a 12-game absence due to a strained left hamstring, the Warriors played with nerve and verve throughout the meaningful moments of the game, which turned sloppy during an extended garbage time.
Iguodala finished with only 2 points – throwing down an alley-oop pass from Curry – and two assists. What was clearly improved, however, was the Warriors ball movement and focus. They finished with 25 assists and 12 turnovers.
Playing without franchise big man Anthony Davis and star guard Tyreke Evans, the Pelicans were led by Ryan Anderson, who finished with 21 points.
STANDOUT PERFORMANCES: Lee played as solid a game as he has all season. He was efficient on offense (21 points) and at times a factor on defense. He was, above all, relentless at both ends.
Curry also benefitted from Iguodala's return, as it opened the floor, making life easier for the point guard, who finished with 12 assists and only three turnovers.
TURNING POINT: It came early, perhaps as quickly as the announcement of the Warriors lineup. The crowd roared at the mention of Iguodala's name in the starting lineup, anticipating his skill and effect on the team's energy.
The Warriors took a 10-point lead less than six minutes in. When the Pelicans attempted to come back, closing to within two (18-16) with 3:30 left in the first quarter, the Warriors responded with a 39-23 run to finish the half and the Pelicans.
INJURY UPDATE: Centers Jermaine O'Neal (surgery, right wrist), Festus Ezeli (surgery, right knee) and Ognjen Kuzmic (surgery, right pinkie) are out indefinitely.
WHAT'S NEXT: The defending Western Conference champion Spurs come to Oracle Arena on Thursday night. Though the Warriors have lost 30 consecutive regular-season games in San Antonio, they have won their last two home games against the Spurs.