Friday, January 3
MIAMI (AP) — Game-high in points. Game-high in assists. Game-high in steals. Oh, and for good measure, he made as many 3-pointers as the entire Miami Heat roster.
Stephen Curry had another night to remember.
And the Golden State Warriors continued their surge.
Curry finished with 36 points, 12 assists, four steals and made eight 3-pointers, David Lee finished with 32 points and 14 rebounds, and the Warriors ran past the Heat 123-114 Thursday night to extend the NBA's longest current winning streak to seven games.
"Curry was spectacular," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. "If he doesn't make the All-Star team, I might retire."
If the Heat had a vote, Jackson's job would be safe.
"One of the best shooters this NBA will see," Heat star LeBron James said. "I mean, if you can find a better shooter than him right now, especially with the way he handles the ball — and the light that he has, it's more than green, it's fluorescent — you just hope that he misses."
He did miss a few. Just not very many.
Curry was 13 for 22 from the floor, 8 of 15 from beyond the arc. Lee made 13 of 17 shots. The Warriors made 15 3-pointers; the Heat managed only eight.
"It's a good experience against a championship-caliber team," Curry said. "They know how to get it done so to come in here and play the way we did, it shows we're on the right path."
Klay Thompson scored 16 points and Harrison Barnes added 15 for the Warriors.
James scored 26 points and Dwyane Wade added 22 for the Heat, who had all five starters in double figures. Chris Bosh scored 19, Mario Chalmers had 17 and Shane Battier added 11 for Miami.
But the Heat allowed Golden State to shoot 56 percent, plus finish with a 40-31 rebounding edge.
"They played a heck of a ball game," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "They deserved to win this one."
About the only blip for the Warriors were turnovers. They had 20, which Miami turned into 32 points. Without those, this might have been a lot worse.
"More than anything it keeps the ball rolling," Lee said after matching his season-high for scoring. "Anytime you play the champions like this it's a measuring point. Tonight was no exception."
They were sizzling from the get-go. The Warriors opened by making 11 of their first 13 shots — and somewhat unbelievably, were trailing at time, down 29-28 for a few seconds late in the first quarter.
Golden State scored on 14 of its first 21 possessions and led 38-33 after the opening quarter, putting up the highest point total for any period against the Heat this season. Things cooled, albeit slightly, in the second, and the Warriors went into the break with a 65-61 advantage.
And then the third quarter was all about Curry.
He was dazzling, wowing Julius Erving at one end, Johnny Manziel on the other and pretty much frustrating the Heat at all points in between.
"Nothing you can do," Wade said. "You contest it and hope he misses."
Curry went on a personal 7-0 run early in the period, all of them jumpers, one where he gave a quick look-back to James after a high-arcing, high-difficulty connection from the right corner. That barrage gave Golden State a 13-point lead, and a 3 from Curry put the Warriors up 91-76 with 3:27 left in the quarter.
Curry had 14 in the quarter, matching his output from the entire first half. The lead was down to nine entering the fourth, down to six when James made a 3-pointer with 5:18 left — but Curry's final 3 of the night pushed the margin back to nine with about 3 minutes remaining, and the Heat never got closer.
"Vintage Steph," Lee said.
NOTES: Golden State's 123 points were the most allowed by the Heat at home in a non-overtime game since James, Wade and Bosh became teammates. ... Attendance was 20,350, tying the largest home regular-season crowd for the Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena. ... The only others with at least 35 points and 12 assists against Miami in a game: Michael Jordan and Allen Iverson, according to STATS.