Steph Curry continues hot start with 42 points in Warriors’ win over Pelicans

Steph Curry’s 42 points leads Golden State Warriors to win over New Orleans Pelicans

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Steve Kerr has seen Steph Curry play hundreds of games and hundreds of hot shooting streaks. But none of his MVP runs or championship comebacks compare to the hot start Curry is currently on.

“No,” Kerr replied when asked if he’d ever seen Curry get off to such a fast start. “I’m not sure what his numbers are, but he’s on fire.” It’s incredible to watch him. I mean, at 35, he looks better than ever.”

Curry’s 42-point performance led the Warriors to a 130-102 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans (2-1) on Monday night, moving Golden State to 3-1 on the season. He was 7-of-13 from three and 15-of-22 from the field, adding to an already impressive start to the season in which he’s shooting 47.1% from three and averaging 33.5 points in 32 minutes per game.

The statistics only tell part of the story. Curry has already changed the way he commands games after only four games. He came out firing against the Sacramento Kings, and against the Rockets, he sat ready in a close game and pounced on defender Dillon Brooks for four straight 3-pointers. Curry didn’t waste any shots against the Pelicans, finding gaps in the defense to get a shot off on-ball and firing quick shots off feeds from Chris Paul and Draymond Green. Everything was falling into place.

Is this the hottest Curry has ever felt to kick off a season?

“No,” he replied. “2016. “Having fun while playing with confidence.”

Curry did, in fact, have a better start to his 2016 season. He started the season shooting 48.8% from three, averaging 37 points per game, and finished the season shooting 45.4% from three, averaging 30.1 points per game and winning the MVP award.

What’s the difference between the Curry of 2016 and the Curry of 2023?

“Parent-teacher conferences,” Curry said, referring to the fact that he now has school-age children.

Curry quickly cut that trip down memory lane short by deflecting the conversation to himself.

“I’m more excited about our team and how we’re putting it all together this early,” Curry said in a statement. “Nobody is writing us in (for title contention) after seven or eight games.” But, as evidenced by our bench’s cohesiveness, ability to mix and match lineups, and the way CP is running our second unit, our bench is not only holding on, but growing. It gives us a lot of confidence, especially when we win on the road.”

Curry’s hot start and the team’s cohesion are inextricably linked. In a departure from last season, the Warriors’ bench, led by Chris Paul, has turned the previously troublesome “Non-Steph minutes” into an advantage. According to Cleaning the Glass, with Curry off the court and Paul on, the Warriors have a 91.2 defensive rating that ranks in the league’s top 100th percentile and a 107.3 offensive rating that is buoyed by a strong 11.5% turnover rate.

The Warriors’ bench outscored New Orleans’ bench 52-35, and the Warriors have outscored their opponents 158-113. That’s a 45-point difference.

That bench unit made the “Non-Steph” minutes pay off even more. With minor injuries, Klay Thompson and Jonathan Kuminga missed the second half of the back-to-back. Moses Moody, a reliable 3-point shooter, made his 15th career NBA start and his first this season.

“After opening night, I thought it would take some time,” Kerr was quoted as saying. “We had to get Draymond back in shape and get the new guys used to what we do.” These last two games have been promising. It’s incredible to have Chris Paul as your backup point guard. He’s in the Hall of Fame… It changes everything when you can start a game with Steph Curry and then bring Chris into the game with a great second unit to keep the pressure on.”

Brandin Podziemski made his NBA debut with some minutes available. The rookie was aggressive on both ends of the floor, grabbing eight rebounds, dishing out two assists, and finishing with a plus-15 rating. He found out about 15 minutes before the game.

Trayce Jackson-Davis made his NBA debut and scored his first points on a high-flying dunk assisted by Chris Paul. He finished with a near-double-double of 13 points, 9 rebounds, and four blocks.

Statisticians initially recorded Jackson-Davis as having a double-double, but later removed a rebound. When the bench thought Jackson-Davis had reached his double-double, they yelled “Trayce.” It meant he’d officially shed the “Baby T” moniker bestowed upon him by the veterans. He and his teammates later discovered that he had one rebound removed from his stat sheet, so he may have to wear the “Baby T” moniker until he gets an actual double-double.

The Warriors play the Sacramento Kings at home on Wednesday, then embark on a four-city road trip to play the Oklahoma City Thunder in an in-season Tournament game, followed by back-to-backs in Cleveland and Detroit before concluding the trip against the reigning champion Denver Nuggets.

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