Stephen Curry scored 30 points and the Golden State Warriors avoided a let down with a 93-72 win at New Orleans.
Following their impressive 108-78 win at Houston on Sunday, several players made a point to speak to the importance of Monday’s game against the lowly Hornets.
Their message: It would have been for naught if they turned around and lost to New Orleans.
“We knew tonight that after a big win yesterday -- probably one of our best games of the season -- that we couldn't have a let down here,” said Warriors center Andrew Bogut, who finished with eight points, nine rebounds, five assists and four blocks.
Even without Eric Gordon, the Hornets didn’t make things easy on Golden State (39-30) -- at least not early. New Orleans remained in striking distance for most of the second half until a jumper from David Lee made it 86-72 with three minutes, 25 seconds left.
Bogut extended the lead to 16 on the Warriors’ next possession, at which point the game was essentially over.
Lee credited the coaching staff for preventing any sort of let down.
“They definitely let us know pregame that everyone expected us to have a let down night tonight,” he said, “especially on a back-to-back.”
The on-court relationship between the two big men took another step toward the vision general manager Bob Myers had when he acquired Bogut last year. They combined for 28 points, 20 rebounds and nine assists, while taking the pressure of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson on the perimeter.
“Offense is lagging personally a little bit,” Bogut said. “I'm trying to get it back and David is rolling, so whenever someone is open we try to find the open man. We have a great array of shooters and if we just keep moving the ball, we'll be alright.”
The Warriors' lead fluctuated between seven and 13 throughout the third quarter before they took a 69-61 advantage into the fourth.
With the win, Golden State extended its lead to two games ahead of Houston for the No. 6 spot in the Western Conference standings with 13 games left in the regular season. The Rockets (36-31) are off until Wednesday, when they host Utah (34-32) and have 15 games left.
New Orleans’ 72 points marked the second-lowest point total for a Warriors opponent all season.
“If we can keep winning and holding teams to 70s and 80s, we got a good chance to do something special,” Bogut said.
The Hornets (22-46) tied their biggest lead of the game, 32-26, at the 9:07 mark of the second quarter, but Golden State closed on a 19-4 run to take a 45-36 lead into the half. During that final stretch, the Hornets hit just 2-of-16 shots. Their 14 second-quarter points tied the lowest scoring second quarter of the season for a Warriors opponent.
Golden State’s halftime lead might have been bigger if not for some sloppy play from Thompson and Curry. The starting backcourt combined for nine first-half turnovers and Curry finished the game with a season-high seven turnovers.
“Careless and he'll be the first to tell you,” coach Mark Jackson said of Curry’s play. “He's got to be better and he understands that, but I'm not going to pull him out. That's not going to happen.”
Lee had 20 points, 11 rebounds and five assists -- his league-leading 25th 20-point, 10-rebound game of the year.
Ryan Anderson had 21 points off the bench to lead the Hornets.
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— Chris (@chriscteach) March 19, 2013
Next Up -- at San Antonio, Wednesday
Golden State wraps up its final multi-game road trip in the building that has been harder on it than any other in the league. The Warriors have dropped 28 straight at San Antonio and have never won at AT&T Center, which was built in 2002. The long road losing streak against the Spurs ranks as the longest for any team in the NBA against a single opponent.
The Warriors did win the last game against the Spurs, a 107-101 overtime win at Oracle Arena on Feb. 22. Jarrett Jack went for 30 points in that game as Golden State erased a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit.
San Antonio (51-16) will be without guard Tony Parker, who left the team's game on Feb. 1 against Sacramento with a severe ankle sprain. Without Parker, the Spurs have gone 5-2, but they expect him back in time for the game against Miami on March 31.