Warriors come alive after slow start for seventh win in a row

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[January 23, 2017]  ORLANDO, Fla. -- Even when they are half asleep, the Golden State Warriors still dominate the NBA.

With an East Coast start time of noon (9 a.m. on the West Coast), the Warriors awakened slowly Sunday morning but finished with a flourish, overpowering the Orlando Magic 118-98 at the Amway Center.

The Warriors (38-6) won their seventh consecutive game, keeping pace to become the first NBA team in history to win at least 65 games for three consecutive seasons.

Stephen Curry hit 7 of 13 3-pointers and scored a game-high 27 points, dominating the third quarter after a lackluster first half.

"It was an early start, and a challenge mentally, but it shouldn't matter what time of day it is," Curry said. "We want to win whenever we play. We showed how much winning means to this team."

Curry scored 16 points in the third quarter when the Warriors turned a tie game into an 18-point lead that was never challenged.

Warriors guard Clay Thompson scored 21 points and hit 7 of 9 3-pointers. Kevin Durant had 15 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Draymond Green scored just six points but had 10 rebounds. Reserve JaVale McGee scored 13 points.

"I needed a wakeup call today," Green said. "It's difficult to play this early. You could tell by the way we played at the start. But that's the NBA, and we figured it out and got it done."

It was the 20th consecutive game the Warriors scored at least 100 points and upped their record to 14-1 against teams from the Eastern Conference this season.

Guard Eldrid Payton led the Magic (18-28) with 23 points and 10 assists. Reserve center Bismack Biyombo had 12 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Nikola Vucevic and Jeff Green each scored 12 points and Serge Ibaka had 10 points.

For Curry, it was the 10th consecutive game he scored at least 20 points. For the Warriors, it was the first time since 1995 they played a noon game in the Eastern time zone and they had eight turnovers in the first six minutes before they opened their eyes.

"It was weird," Curry said. "We struggled early, but we left our mark in the third quarter. That's when we were at our best."

The Warriors never were seriously challenged in the fourth quarter and played mostly their reserves. The Warriors scored 42 points in the third quarter when they hit 8 of 16 3-pointers and took command.

Curry scored eight points in 90 seconds to close the quarter, pushing Golden State to a 92-74 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Andre Iguodala opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer that ended all Magic hopes.

The Warriors made 19 of 42 shots from 3-point range.

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Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) reacts against the Orlando Magic during the second half at Amway Center. Golden State Warriors defeated the Orlando Magic 118-98. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The score was tied at halftime with Curry leading everyone with 11 points.

"There's not much you can do when they (Warriors) get it going like that," Jeff Green said. "That's why they are who they are, and get the acclaim that they do. It gets tough for any opponent playing against them."

The Magic shot poorly from the 3-point line (7 of 28) and at the free throw line (7 of 16), giving the Warriors more than enough help to pull away.

"There's just no margin for error against them," Magic coach Frank Vogel said. "The way you punch back against them is by making shots yourself. We missed too many today."

The Magic led 38-28 after scoring the first 16 points of the second quarter, sparked by Jeff Green with nine points before intermission. The Warriors missed their first nine shots of the quarter.

Mario Hezonja hit a 3-pointer for the 44-33 advantage, the Magic's biggest lead of the game.

The Warriors started slowly, making only three of their first 10 shots from the field and committing eight turnovers in the opening six minutes. They still led 28-22 after the first quarter, thanks to reserve JaVale McGee with eight points in his first five minutes.

NOTES: The Magic signed G/F Anthony Brown to a 10-day contract. He played nine games earlier this season for the New Orleans Pelicans, but has been playing in the NBA Development League. ... Warriors reserve G Shaun Livingston, who had shot 50 percent or better in each of his last 11 games, sat out to rest. ... The Warriors have won their last three games -- against Houston, Oklahoma City and Cleveland and Orlando -- by a combined 92 points. ... The Magic were without starting SG Evan Fournier (sore heel) and backup SG Jodie Meeks (dislocated thumb), which is why they signed Brown. ... Magic C Bismack Biyombo, who grew up in the Congo, made it clear he would not be intimidated by the Warriors and their success. "I'm not afraid of a human being. I'm afraid of lions," Biyombo said.

[ 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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