LOS ANGELES -- Draymond Green knew Steph Curry was ready to explode.
He'd been watching the two-time MVP get more and more heated as the game went on and felt as if they were not getting the calls they deserved. In the fourth quarter, Green leaned over to Jordan Poole and told him, "He's about to put this one up."
Just moments later, Curry went off.
The tipping point was when Curry got called for a technical foul after a no-call on what the Warriors believed to be a clear foul in transition. After Curry collected himself, pulling himself away from the referee before getting another T, he walked down to the far end of the court looking up in the crowd, nodding his head. It was as if he was agreeing with himself that this was the time to get going.
"I kind of laugh afterward just because I know what it is. It's competition, it's intensity, it's desire because I want it so bad," Curry said. "Whatever it takes to get going, once the spark is lit I let the emotions fly. However long that lasts, as soon as there's an intentional moment, there's a voice that's like, 'Alright, let's play some basketball.' I love to control that moment because if you don't, then it spirals into doing something other than what you're supposed to be doing. Just let it out, and play basketball."
It could have spiraled into an ejection for Curry, but he held himself back. That, and Juan Toscano-Anderson kept pushing Curry away from the ref. It was the Warriors' fourth technical of the night, and Toscano-Anderson wasn't going to allow anyone to get thrown out of the game.
"It was as upset as I've seen Steph in a long time, and it was as upset as I've been in a long time," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "Kind of a miracle that I didn't get a technical. But it seemed to get us going. So, whatever it takes."
Curry's technical had been brewing for a while. The game had no offensive flow from the tip, and because the shooting was erratic for both teams, things were getting chippy down low. There were multiple moments that Curry felt should have been called as a foul. So the play he got the technical on was just his emotions boiling over.
"I let my emotions go and it definitely fired me up, fired our team up," Curry said. "You have to be able to direct that energy into just putting the ball in the basket after that. I feel like we do it well, where you don't let it become a distraction the rest of the game. It obviously helped open up the rest of the game."
Ahead of Curry's flurry, Poole experienced a similar stretch, and it was sparked by a similar moment.
After getting blocked by Isaiah Hartenstein at the end of the third quarter, Hartenstein stood over Poole and flexed in his face. Poole responded by draining 3-pointers, putting up 15 points in the quarter.
As Curry said, it's one thing to let a moment like that fire you up. But it's a whole other task to channel that into making shots as Curry and Poole did.
"It's focus and intention," Curry said. "It's predicated on how we play in general and how we know we can create success. We got to it pretty quickly after that moment."
Before that moment, Curry said the Warriors weren't playing like themselves. Golden State's offense was sluggish, shooting 40 percent from the floor and just over 30 percent from 3-point range in the first half.
Curry was doing alright through the first three quarters. He scored 13 points in the first half and seven points in the third quarter before he exploded.
He ended up scoring 13 in the fourth, finishing the game with 33 points on 12-of-22 shooting from the floor, including 7-of-13 from three.
"Steph is a guy who's just so competitive," Kerr said. "When he knows he gets fouled ... and he doesn't get the call, every once in a while he's going to snap. He doesn't do it often, but when he knows he's right, the competitor in him comes out and he'll lose his mind a little bit. But it often spurs him like it did in this instance."