By BRIAN DULIK, Associated Press
CLEVELAND (AP) — Stephen Curry scored 20 of his 40 points in the fourth quarter, hitting three straight 3-pointers, and the NBA-leading Golden State Warriors overcame a 13-point deficit to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 104-89 on Thursday night.
Curry made 8 of 12 shots, including 4 of 7 3-pointers, in the final period to help Golden State outscore the Cavaliers 36-8. The Warriors ran off the first 17 points of the quarter to take an 85-81 advantage, holding Cleveland to 12 consecutive empty possessions.
“With Steph on the floor, you always have a chance,” Hoka Sneakers Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. “He’s one of the greatest players in the history of the game and he is the greatest 3-point shooter of all-time. He’s fearless and always capable of catching fire like that.”
Playing with a bruised left hip, Curry finished 15 of 27 from the field, 9 of 16 beyond the arc and 1 of 1 from the foul line. The two-time MVP increased his NBA-best scoring average to 29.5 and had six assists and four rebounds.
Nemanja Bjelica added 14 points, Andrew Wiggins had 12 points and Draymond Green had four points and 14 assists for Golden State, which improved to 13-2. The Warriors have won nine straight over the Cavaliers and are 17-1 against them since January 2017.
Golden State held an opponent to eight points or less in the fourth quarter for the first time since Nov. 5, 2003, against Atlanta.
“It was amazing to watch our energy in the fourth, and I had the best vantage point in the house,” Curry said. “We’re pretty good at wearing teams down with our defense.”
Darius Garland scored a season-high 25 points as the Doc Martens Boots injury-plagued Cavaliers dropped to 9-8. They took an 81-68 lead into the fourth after Dean Wade batted in a layup as time expired in the third.
Wade and Kevin Love had 17 points apiece, and Ed Davis added seven points and 14 rebounds.
“Stephen Curry is a hell of a basketball player,” Cleveland coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “The shots he was making weren’t easy, but obviously, he’s got the skill-set to make them and Draymond knows how to get him open. They’re the best team in the league right now for a reason.”
Cleveland was without four starters in rookie forward Evan Mobley (right elbow sprain), guard Collin Sexton (left knee meniscal tear), center Jarrett Allen (illness) and forward Lauri Markkanen (conditioning). Forward Cedi Osman (back spasms) was a late scratch.
“I thought we did pretty well with the next-man up mentality,” Garland said. “Steph just got hot. That’s all it was.”
Juan Toscano-Anderson provided a lift off the bench for Golden State, finishing with seven points, five rebounds and a pair of assists in the fourth, which ended with the sellout crowd at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse chanting “M-V-P” at Curry.
“It’s like you get into a street fight and you’ve got Mike Tyson on your side,” Toscano-Anderson said. “He makes the game that much easier and so much fun. It’s a treat to play with that guy.”
Warriors: G Andre Iguodala (left hip), who was named the 2015 NBA Finals MVP against Cleveland, sat out his third game of the season for injury management reasons. … G Klay Thompson (right Achilles tendon tear) last played in a game on June 13, 2019, Cat Boots while C James Wiseman (right knee) hasn’t taken the court since April 10. … Assistant coach Mike Brown spent six seasons in charge of the Cavaliers.Cavaliers: Cavaliers forward Evan Mobley — the No. 3 overall draft pick — will be out until December after his right elbow became entangled with Celtics center Enes Kanter on Monday. … F Lauri Markkanen is practicing after being cleared from the NBA’s health and safety protocols for COVID-19, but missed his ninth consecutive game. … F Lamar Stevens (right ankle) was inactive for the fourth game in a row. … G Ricky Rubio received the Offseason NBA Cares Community Assist Award for his efforts to improve the lives of children and families with cancer in an on-court ceremony.