Wednesday, March 19, 2014
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Backcourt boosts Warriors past Magic

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[March 19, 2014]  OAKLAND, Calif.  Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson calls his starting guards, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, "the greatest backcourt shooters ever."

Against the Orlando Magic on Tuesday night, they were even more than that.

Curry and Thompson outscored Magic counterparts Jameer Nelson and Arron Afflalo 43-8 with equal doses of long-range marksmanship and suffocating defense, leading the Warriors to a 103-89 victory.

"That's how we have to play the rest of the year," Curry said of the Golden State duo's defense on Nelson and Afflalo, each of whom shot 2-for-7. "On both ends of the court, win our battles. If we do that, we'll be in good shape."

Led by Curry and Thompson, the Warriors rode a barrage of third-quarter 3-pointers to a comfortable win that was accomplished without the services of starting small forward Andre Iguodala (right knee tendinitis) and centers Andrew Bogut (left ankle inflammation) and Jermaine O'Neal (rest).

The Warriors went 6-for-8 from beyond the 3-point arc in the third period while extending a 10-point halftime lead to as many as 24. Curry had 10 of his 23 points in the quarter and Thompson 13 of his 20 as Golden State completed its first season-series sweep of Orlando in 22 years.


"That was the best we've moved the ball in consecutive possessions," Curry said of an 18-0 flurry that turned a 57-51 game into a blowout. Both guards contributed a pair of 3-pointers to the burst, with Thompson assisting on both of Curry's jumpers.

"We were finding the right guy," Curry said. "We turned down good shots for better shots."

Curry hit three of his six 3-point attempts in the game, and Thompson four of his five as the Warriors overcame a 2-for-11 start from long range to finish 10-for-27. Backup guard Steve Blake contributed the other three treys to account for a majority of his 12 points.

Power forward David Lee added 20 points as Golden State (43-26) recorded its first regulation-time home win over Orlando since 2006. Lee completed a double-double with 10 rebounds, helping the Warriors gain a 44-40 advantage in that department even in Bogut's absence.

"A quality win for us," Jackson said. "Really pleased with the way we got after it. We were very unselfish and did a great job of sharing the basketball."

The win in the opener of a five-game homestand was the Warriors' seventh in nine games.

Meanwhile, the Magic (19-49) lost its sixth in a row and remained winless on the road this season against Western Conference competition (0-12).

Orlando will get three more cracks at Western sites this week as it completes a four-game trip. Tuesday's loss was the 31st in 35 road games for the Magic, which has the league's worst road record. Orlando is 4-21 overall against Western teams.

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"They do a good job of playing with each other, passing the basketball," Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said of the Warriors. "I give my guys some credit. We came to play and did some good things."

Center Nikola Vucevic led five Magic players in double figures with 15 points. Backup forward Tobias Harris had 14 points, small forward Maurice Harkless 12 and power forward Kyle O'Quinn and backup guard Victor Oladipo 10 apiece for Orlando, which outshot the Warriors 45.5 percent to 45.1 overall but was outscored 30-12 from 3-point range.

"It's hard to score over and over again against set defenses," Vucevic said. "It is a lot easier when you get stops and get fast-break points. We had to take the ball out of the net almost 10 straight times, and it is hard to keep a good rhythm offensively when that is happening."

The Warriors began to distance themselves from the Magic late in the first half, using a combined 29 points from Lee (16) and Curry (13) to go into halftime with a 57-47 advantage.

Orlando hung within 45-41 with 4:59 remaining in the half. The Golden State defense then forced four turnovers in the Magic's next six possessions, and Lee had three late hoops as the Warriors gained their 10-point cushion entering the break.

NOTES: Warriors guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson have combined for 400 3-pointers this season. ... The Warriors announced before the game that SF Andre Iguodala, who sat out Tuesday night, would miss at least the next two games because of tendinitis in his right knee. ... Backup C Jermaine O'Neal was given a rest by Warriors coach Mark Jackson, who explained, "I was getting my Pop on," a reference to San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich's penchant for resting his veteran players. ... The Magic won six of its previous seven games in Oakland before Tuesday. ... Orlando fell to 2-25 in games played on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. It is a respectable 17-24 in games played on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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