The way the Warriors are rolling, even the respectable Indiana Pacers didn’t have much of a chance.
After concluding their longest road trip of the season with an emphatic 132-100 rout of the Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the Warriors will return to the Bay Area Tuesday early morning with an 11-game win streak.
The Warriors took control early, building a double-digit lead that never was seriously threatened thanks to a 24-3 run in the first quarter.
Here are three takeaways from a game in which the Warriors never trailed:
Curry’s insane efficiency
Aside from nearly injuring himself while celebrating a Klay Thompson dunk, Stephen Curry did just about everything perfectly.
He made his first six 3-pointers before ultimately finishing 6-of-8 from beyond the arc. He shot 10-of-13 from the field, scoring a game-high 26 points. He grabbed six rebounds, passed for three assists and nabbed two steals. He was plus-10 over 27 minutes.
Curry’s third 3-pointer gave him 200 this season, extending to seven his streak of seasons with at least 200 3-pointers – making him the first NBA player to accomplish the feat.
Yet, it was his reaction to an impressive dunk by Thompson early in the second quarter that put a scare into the Warriors. Curry leaped off the bench and dropped his warmup jacket, only to get his feet tangled in the jacket.
He survived intact.
It’s a frightening sight whenever a player returns from serious injury, and hits the floor hard for the first time. Cousins, who returned 10 days ago, took his first scary spill with 7:35 left in the first quarter.
Clobbered by Pacers power forward Thaddeus Young while trying to finish a breakaway at the rim, Cousins landed awkwardly on his left foot – just below his surgically repaired Achilles – grimaced and writhed on the floor for a few moments before rising and limping.
He also survived intact.
Young was assessed with a Flagrant 1, and Cousins went to the line and made both free throws. His minutes were unaffected, as was his game. Cousins totaled a season-high 22 points (7-of-12 from the field), six rebounds and four assists. He was plus-7 over 25 minutes.
There may be residual effect Tuesday, but Cousins showed no ill effects.
The return of Jordan Bell
With Draymond Green sitting out with general soreness, coach Steve Kerr had a decision to make. Who should start in pace of Green? Kerr went with Jordan Bell, who has spent much of the season out of the rotation.
Bell responded with eight points, five rebounds, one block and one steal. He was plus-9 over 19 minutes.
Insofar as Bell had not played since Jan. 21 against the Lakers in Los Angeles, where he had a very visible heated exchange with Kerr, giving Bell the start was a surprise.
Kerr could have inserted Andre Iguodala, a good defensive matchup with Indy forward Bojan Bogdanovic, who specializes in perimeter shooting. Going with Bell kept Kevin Durant at small forward, on Bogdanovic, while Bell matched up with Young.
There could be a number of reasons for starting Bell. He may have earned it with his work habits and preparation. He may have been on display for a possible trade. Maybe Kerr liked the matchup.
In any case, Bell acquitted himself well.