OAKLAND (AP) — Stephen Curry had 28 points and 12 assists, David Lee added 21 points and 17 rebounds and the Golden State Warriors beat the short-handed New Orleans Pelicans 104-93 on Tuesday night in Andre Iguodala’s long-awaited return.
Iguodala finished with two points and two assists in 17 minutes after missing the previous 12 games with a right hamstring injury. The Warriors led by 10 points in the first quarter, 18 at halftime and 26 late in the third quarter.
Golden State never trailed.
The Pelicans played without injured starters Anthony Davis (broken left hand) and Tyreke Evans (sprained left ankle). Ryan Anderson had 21 points and six rebounds and Jason Smith scored 12 for New Orleans, which has lost its first two games of a five-game trip.
The Warriors outshot the Pelicans 45.1 to 37.5 percent and outrebounded them 58 to 44 to control the game — for the most part — from start to finish. New Orleans made a brief run in the fourth quarter against Golden State’s backups before the starters returned and restored order.
The Warriors went 5-7 after Iguodala injured his hamstring Nov. 22, losing three of its last four games. They had especially struggled on defense, though the problems extended beyond Iguodala’s absence.
Warriors coach Mark Jackson even called out his players for a lack of effort after a loss at Phoenix on Sunday, saying “I am finding that the guys in the suit and tie want it more than the guys in uniform.”
After a string of slow starts during its recent slide, Golden State opened the game against New Orleans with the kind of heart and hustle Jackson has wanted from his team.
The Warriors dominated at both ends of the floor in a near-flawless first quarter. About the only blemish in the period — or the game, for that matter — came when Harrison Barnes suffered a left eye lid abrasion and was poked in the eye inadvertently by Lou Amundson going for a rebound. He returned a few minutes later.
The Pelicans played mostly on the perimeter and got nothing going offensively. The misses gave the Warriors several fast-break opportunities, and they took advantage of them throughout.
Iguodala punctuated the fast start when he finished an alley-oop from Curry late in the second quarter for his only basket, sending most of the announced sellout crowd of 19,596 roaring to its feet. Two possessions later, Curry followed with a layup through traffic to give Golden State a 57-39 lead at the half.
The Warriors went ahead by 26 points late in the third quarter, and Iguodala nearly pulled off one of the highlights of the season during the run: He dribbled to his right, faked a behind-the-back pass, bounced the ball through the legs, then cuffed it with his right hand and tried to dunk over Smith — but missed off the back iron.
Iguodala was 1-for-4 shooting. Klay Thompson scored 16 points and Andrew Bogut added eight points and 10 rebounds for the Warriors.
The only rally New Orleans put together came against the bottom of the Warriors’ bench. The Pelicans sliced Golden State’s lead to 93-80 with 6:02 remaining before Jackson put most of his starters back in to regain control.
NOTES: Golden State has won six straight against New Orleans. ... Curry has scored 20 points or more in a career-best 11 straight games. ... New Orleans is 3-4 since Davis broke his hand Dec. 1.