Steph Curry returned to his hometown Wednesday and put on a performance family, friends and even unbiased observers won’t forget.
Curry scored 40 points – including a sizzling 28-point third quarter – to lift the Warriors to a 116-99 victory over the Hornets before a sellout crowd at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte.
The victory extended the Warriors’ season-opening win streak to 20, tying baseball’s Union Association 1884 St. Louis Maroons for the major American pro sports record for wins to open a season.
The Warriors’ overall win streak was raised to 24, the third longest in NBA history.
Curry’s sidekick, Klay Thompson, was the only other Warrior in double figures, with 21 points as the defending champions cruised to such a commanding lead through three quarters that interim coach Luke Walton rested all five starters in the fourth.
The Warriors outrebounded the Hornets (53-41) and outshot them 52.3 percent to 37.2 percent.
Charlotte (10-8) was paced by guard Nicolas Batum, who finished with 17 points.
The honor goes to the Splash Brothers, as Thompson showered the Hornets early and Curry drenched them late.
Curry’s line: 40 points (14-of-18 shooting, 8-of-11 from deep), five assists, three rebounds and, for balance, five turnovers. On the night his father, Dell, a former Hornets star, was honored at halftime, the younger Curry scored 28 points in the following quarter.
Thompson’s line: 21 points (8-of-18, 4-of-10 from deep) and three rebounds.
After a Cody Zeller dunk brought the Hornets within eight (72-64) with 5:12 remaining, the Warriors blew open the game with a 21-8 run to close the quarter.
Actually, it was Curry who responded with a personal 21-8 run, as he scored all 21 of those points. The Warriors scored 33 in the quarter, and he scored the last 24.
Charlotte in the fourth quarter never got closer than 14.
Warriors: F Harrison Barnes (L ankle sprain) and F Kevon Looney (hip surgery) were listed as out and placed on the inactive list.
Hornets: G Jeremy Lin (R ankle sprain), listed as questionable, entered the game in the first quarter. C Al Jefferson (L calf strain) and F Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (R shoulder surgery) were listed as out and placed on the inactive list.
The Warriors return to action Saturday afternoon in Toronto, where they face the Raptors at Air Canada Centre. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 pm PST.