Warriors beat Hornets 137-90, clinch Pacific Division crown
ABS-CBN Sports on Apr 01, 2019 11:03 AM
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) talks to Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr during a time out in the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, March 31, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
By Janie McCauley, Associated Press
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Stephen Curry scored 25 points with five three-pointers and the Golden State Warriors beat Charlotte 137-90 on Sunday night (Monday, PHL time) to clinch their fifth straight Pacific Division title and hand the Hornets their worst loss of the season.
Curry has made five or more triples in a career-best eight straight games. He has 335 so far, his second-most in a season behind the NBA-record 402 he hit in 2015-16.
Splash Brother Klay Thompson scored Golden State's initial nine points and finished with 24 and six three's on a night coach Steve Kerr could give his regulars a rest and better prepare the backups for the playoffs with more minutes. Curry and Thompson combined to shoot 11-for-17 from deep and 17-of-30 overall.
The Warriors took charge from the opening tip and took it to the Hornets as the two-time defending champions returned to the court for the first time since a 131-130 overtime loss Friday (Saturday, PHL time) at Minnesota in which Golden State took exception to multiple late calls.
Starting Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins, who had 24 points and 11 rebounds in a 121-110 win at Charlotte on Feb. 25 (Feb. 26, PHL time), was ejected with 6:09 left in the second quarter for a Flagrant 2 foul against Willy Hernangomez. Cousins scored eight points and blocked three shots in 11 minutes.
Hernangomez scored 22 points — 14 on free throws — for the Hornets, who lost 129-115 on Friday (Saturday, PHL time) at the Lakers.
Charlotte leading scorer and All-Star Kemba Walker was held to nine points for his third game of the season not reaching double figures.
Quinn Cook added 21 points off the bench with five three's as the Warriors shot a sizzling 21-of-33 (63.6 percent) from long range.
MICHIGAN STATE PRIDE
Draymond Green whooped and hollered in the locker room with some serious school pride.
"Great day to be a Spartan!" Green said after Michigan State's 68-67 NCAA Tournament victory over top-seeded Duke to reach the Final Four.
Curry walked past his teammate after warmups and offered, "Congratulations, Spartan."
"I'm not surprised, I actually thought that we could do it," Green said. "Duke has a lot of firepower, but it has gaps. An experienced team, and an experienced coach, can exploit those gaps."
Curry's mother, Sonya, along with California women's basketball coach Lindsay Gottlieb and two-time WNBA MVP Candace Parker participated in a pregame future leaders event to introduce middle school girls to careers in sports — part of Golden State's efforts during Women's Empowerment Month. The group was introduced at halftime.
"At this critical age, seek to be the best version of yourself. You can look around and get inspiration from a lot of incredible women, but you also have to value and love who you are," said Gottlieb, whose Cal women reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament before losing to Baylor. "Who you are and what you care about, be true to that. . If you're inspired to think about what's possible for you, that's what today is about. You can have it all. It's out there for you as women."
Dell Curry — hanging with nearly nine-month-old grandson, Canon, Stephen's third child — also attended the game as the Warriors played his former franchise.
Hornets: Charlotte scored 61 points off the bench. ... The Hornets shot 8-of-32 from three-point range. ... The Hornets' previous worst loss was by 38 on two occasions.
Warriors: The Warriors led 71-49 at halftime for their 15th 70-point half of the season, 10th in a first half. ... Thompson's last three of the night in the third gave him 1,788 to pass Rashard Lewis (1,787) for 16th place on the NBA's career list. ... With 15 technicals, Green is one away from an automatic suspension — but last season he played with 15 and avoided a 16th. "He counted," Kerr said. "He just knows. He knows how many he has and he stops."
Hornets: At Utah on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) to complete a back-to-back and Charlotte's third game of a four-game road trip.
Warriors: Host Nuggets on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time).