OAKLAND (AP) — A 50-point win for Stephen Curry and the defending champion Warriors and the season isn’t even a week old.
“It’s surprising,” Curry said. “I don’t remember the last time that’s ever happened to any guys on this team, being on the winning side of a 50-point game.”
Curry scored 21 of his 30 points in an emphatic third-quarter stretch and the reigning NBA MVP followed up his 53-point performance from the weekend with another gem to lead unbeaten Golden State past the Memphis Grizzlies 119-69 on Monday night.
Curry did not play in the fourth quarter with his team up big after shooting 10 for 16 and hitting four 3-pointers to give him 21 through four games — even after Grizzlies coach David Joerger joked before the game, “We’re going to put three guys on him tonight.”
Curry also had a huge third quarter with a career-best 28 points in Saturday’s win at New Orleans, and he won Western Conference Player of the Week honors after averaging a league-best 39.3 points.
The Grizzlies were outscored 72-27 over the second and third quarters on the way to the worst defeat in franchise history.
Festus Ezeli added 11 points and 10 rebounds filling in for injured center Andrew Bogut, and Curry scored 16 straight points during one stretch in Golden State’s franchise-record 20th straight win at Oracle Arena. It was the team’s first 50-point win since exactly 24 years earlier when the Warriors beat Sacramento 153-91 on Nov. 2, 1991.
The Grizzlies starters combined to shoot 11 for 46, led by Marc Gasol’s 13 points.
“That’s a championship team. They’re not 40-50 points better than us, we know that,” Memphis forward Zach Randolph said.
All three of the Warriors’ opponents in four games — they faced the Pelicans twice already — have been teams Golden State eliminated in last season’s playoffs en route to an NBA championship. The Warriors beat the Grizzlies in six games in the Western Conference semifinals.
“There’s a little bit of an intimidation factor when we start making shots and we start locking up on defense,” interim coach Luke Walton said. “It can cause some teams to fold. Memphis I do not think is one of those teams. I just think they had a poor shooting night.”
Curry made a steal and a driving hook shot with 6:28 left in the third to put Golden State ahead 75-40. He knocked down a 3-pointer a minute later and another about 30 seconds after that.
The Grizzlies kicked off a season-long five-game, nine-day road trip in forgettable fashion, going 3 for 23 from 3-point range.
“I don’t think anyone is intimidated by us, nor do we expect it,” Golden State’s Draymond Green said. “We’ve just raised our level of play.”
Joerger has most of this stretch memorized when it comes to his team’s early, tough schedule — even if he didn’t have the exact order right when he rattled it off before the game.
“Golden State, Sacramento, who has four days between games waiting for us, Portland, Utah, Clippers, then we go home to play Golden State, Houston, then Minnesota, Oklahoma City, Dallas and San Antonio,” he said. “At this point, we know our first 25 games are very difficult.”
Bogut is still going through the NBA’s concussion protocol after getting injured in last Tuesday’s season opener against the Pelicans.
He did a workout Sunday but still needs to successfully get through a contact practice, Walton said.
LIFE AS THE INTERIM
Yes, the pressure has come off a little bit for Walton given Golden State’s strong start, yet he noted, “I have no off-the-court life anymore, it’s nonexistent.”
“A lot of relief,” he said. “Big picture, I knew if we started off slow it wasn’t the end of the world. But the NBA game is at a point now that there’s so much media, so much social media that without Steve here if we would have lost a game or two early on it would have been a ton of stories all over the place.”
Grizzlies: The Grizzlies will host Golden State once home from the road Nov. 11. ... Memphis has lost its last three regular-season games in Oakland. ... Memphis shot 26 of 96 (27.1 percent).
Warriors: Golden State had seven blocks in the second quarter, two each by Ezeli and Green. ... The Warriors’ 100-point differential through the initial four games set an NBA record, topping the 99-point mark by Boston in 1961-62. ... Golden State hit 43 of 84 shots (51.2 percent).
Grizzlies: At Sacramento on Tuesday night.
Warriors: Host Clippers on Wednesday night.