Stephen Curry's personal shooting coach and passing man, Bruce Fraser, offered some pregame thoughts that worked wonders to get the reigning scoring champion right back in rhythm.
“We kind of talked about certain preparations into my shot, just certain mechanics that he called it even having a little bit more conviction about when it's time to shoot,” Curry said. “Just a little seed he planted. I took that into warmups and the rest of the game. He was very timely with those words of wisdom.”
Curry scored an NBA season-high 50 points with nine 3-pointers, 10 assists and seven rebounds, almost single-handedly leading the Golden State Warriors past the Atlanta Hawks 127-113 on Monday night.
Oh, yes, Curry sure wanted that 50-spot. And if he wasn’t counting, his teammates were committed to getting him there.
“It's always nice," he said. "You never come out with like a certain number in mind. It's just when you get it going, you just keep going."
Only Hall of Famers Wilt Chamberlain and Rick Barry had registered a game with 50 points and 10 assists in Warriors franchise history.
“When he gets going like that, it’s a special day,” teammate and brother-in-law Damion Lee said.
Curry dominated for long stretches and danced in delight, repeatedly raising his arms in the air to encourage everyone fortunate enough to witness another of his brilliant performances.
He scored Golden State's first 13 points, then 10 straight down the stretch in the third before dishing off for Juan Toscano-Anderson's 3-pointer that made it 102-85 following the Warriors' spectacular, 41-point quarter.
“That was just a stunning performance by Steph,” coach Steve Kerr said. “... He was amazing. I want to say I’ve never seen anything like it but I’ve been watching it for seven years, so I have seen something like it and still it’s just incredible to watch.”
Playing to chants of “MVP! MVP!,” Curry gave fans a scare with 8:48 left in the first when he jammed his left shoulder. He was examined by the medical staff during a Hawks timeout and could be seen nodding and moving his arms to shake out the shoulder before drawing cheers when he stayed in the game.
Curry notched his 10th career 50-point game and already had 24 points on 7-for-12 shooting by halftime with five 3-pointers.
“It doesn’t get old, for sure,” Kerr said.
Curry wound up 14 for 28 from the floor and made all 13 of his free throws as the Warriors won their fifth straight. They are holding opponents to 95.8 points during the unbeaten stretch.
“The fact that Steph got that many open looks was crazy,” Hawks star Trae Young said. “He is the best shooter of all time.”
Young had 28 points and nine assists in Atlanta's fourth straight loss and sixth in seven.
Jordan Poole added 16 points and Andrew Wiggins 13 for Golden State (9-1) in the second game of a back-to-back, the Warriors' first time playing on consecutive nights so far this season.
The Warriors fell behind 55-40 in the second but got within 65-61 at halftime before their decisive third.
Hawks coach Nate McMillan is thrilled for Gary Payton II, son of McMillan's old teammate Gary Payton on the Seattle SuperSonics.
McMillan recalls the younger Payton always hanging out at Sonics headquarters.
“Little G. I just remember when he was running around the court with a ball and following his pops,” McMillan said. "To see him grow, he’s worked himself into this league and he has earned a right to have spot on a roster and he’s contributing. He’s playing great basketball.”
Hawks: The Hawks had a three-game winning streak against the Warriors snapped and lost for the 10th time in the last 12 on Golden State's home floor. ... Atlanta dropped to 1-6 on the road and has lost its last five road games. ... The Hawks' 18 turnovers led to 23 Warriors points.
Warriors: Warriors assistant Mike Brown wasn’t feeling well and didn't attend the game. ... Golden State is 9-1 for the first time since starting 10-1 in 2018-19. ... Veteran Andre Iguodala was back after a break to rest his sore left hip Sunday night against Houston. He played in his 1,200th career game, joining LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony as the only active players at that mark. ... F Otto Porter Jr. was out to protect a left foot injury. “He’s obviously been banged up for the last couple years, so this is all part of maintenance and making sure we’re handling things the right way,” Kerr said. "He should be good to go Wednesday, and it makes sense to give him tonight off, but we’ll see. He’s been fine. He’s in a really good place but yeah, we’ve got to be smart especially in the early part of the season.”
Hawks: At Utah on Tuesday night.
Warriors: Host the Timberwolves on Wednesday night before Chicago visits Friday to wrap up an eight-game homestand that matches a franchise record.