SAN DIEGO – Warriors coach Steve Kerr was talking last week about how Stephen Curry usually needs just a few preseason games to find his offensive rhythm.
Consider it found.
Curry’s shooting stroke fired up fans at Valley View Casino Arena and lit up the Lakers as well Wednesday night in a 123-112 win over the Lakers.
“He found it,” Kerr said. “And he needed a few minutes, too.”
Maybe the minutes were the key factor. Through the first five preseason games, Kerr was careful distributing minutes to Curry and the rest of the starters, with the idea being that they ease into game shape while the coaching staff studies the reserves.
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The minutes bumped up on Wednesday, and Curry exploited the opportunity, scoring 32 points in 31 minutes – including 22 points in 15 second-half minutes. He fired in six 3-pointers.
“Steph needed to play,” Kerr said. “He needed to get up and down. He got going there in the second half.”
Curry's second-half flurry was vintage. He made 8-of-10 shots from the field, including 4-of-5 from beyond the arc. It was the first time this preseason that he looked like the guy who five months ago won his second consecutive MVP award.
“We came in expecting to play closer to regular-season minutes, and we started to pick up a rhythm for sure and just be a little more aggressive,” Curry said. “We were locked in as a team on the defensive end, which gave us a lot of energy. We started off the game well and kept it going.”
Curry had plenty of help from his two primary sidekicks, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson. Durant finished with 27 points, and Thompson tossed in 19. The trio’s combined 78 points are in the range of what the team believes they can average in the regular season.
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“It’s amazing to watch,” Kevon Looney said. “We all feel like fans when they go through their thing and are playing well. It makes it easy for everybody else on the team, so it’s a lot of fun to watch.”
With Curry, Durant and Thompson leading the way, Warriors starters outscored the Lakers’ first five 92-62. Such ownership of a struggling young team, as the Lakers are, may be relatively inconsequential. But is also is what’s expected under the circumstances.
It wasn’t just the shooting that boosted the Warriors starters. The defense was solid and the ball movement on offense was fabulous. Each starter had at least four assists, with Thompson the surprise leader with eight.
It helps when your passing options include teammates like Curry and Durant, who may enter friendly competition. It makes sense. Curry is the reigning scoring champion, and Durant is a four-time scoring champ.
“I hit a jump shot,” Durant said, “and (Curry) told me, ‘I could be a fan of yours.’ And when he got it going, you see everybody trying to get him the ball.
“It was pretty to watch, and I’m looking forward to a lot of that this season.”