OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — When Kevin Durant arrived in Golden State this season, Stephen Curry made an extra effort early in the season to make sure his new teammate got his shots.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr wanted Curry to know how important it was for him to be aggressive as well.
With his first halfcourt buzzer-beater of the season followed by a dazzling quarter, Curry looked just like the player who won the MVP the past two years.
Curry scored 25 of his 43 points in the third quarter following his long-range shot to end of the first half, leading the Warriors to their ninth win in 10 games, 144-98 over the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night.
“I have to be aggressive,” Curry said. “That’s the thing about us. We do have a lot of talent. There’s a balancing act with it.”
Curry had too often deferred early in the season but has been looking for his shot more of late. He had nine 3-pointers against the Clippers on a night that began with his playing status in doubt because of a sore left quad.
“What Steph has realized is he can just be himself and let it fly,” Kerr said. “He doesn’t have to worry about Kevin or anybody else. We feed off Steph’s energy and shooting.”
Durant added 23 points and Klay Thompson scored 16 to give Golden State its eighth straight win over its Southern California rival.
Blake Griffin scored 20 points for the struggling Clippers, who have lost four of five since star point guard Chris Paul went down with a torn ligament in his left thumb.
“We just got embarrassed on national television so nobody’s feeling good right now,” guard Austin Rivers said.
The Warriors broke open the game with a 17-6 run over the final 2:14 of the first half. Draymond Green helped spark it when he blocked Griffin and then beat him back down the floor for a dunk. Curry punctuated the half with his 51-footer to make it 72-51. Curry dove to the floor in celebration before dancing with his teammates. This was his first basket of the year from beyond 40 feet after making four last season.
Curry picked it up in the third, when he outscored the Clippers 25-23. He made back-to-back 3s late in the quarter to make it a 34-point game. His eighth 3 of the night in the final minute of the third made it 117-74.
“Coming out, I made my first shot in the third quarter and that just continued the trend,” Curry said. “Big mo going into the half and we were able to keep that energy as a group and have an amazing third quarter.”
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