Reigning MVP Stephen Curry scored 53 points and defending champions Golden State won their third consecutive game to open the season with a 134-120 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday.
Two of the Warriors’ wins have come against the Pelicans, including a 111-95 season-opening victory on Tuesday in which Curry scored 40 points.
It was the third consecutive double-digit loss for the Pelicans, who were playing their home opener at the Smoothie King Arena.
“When nights like tonight happen, you find shots and they keep going in,” Curry said. “I was just trying to be aggressive, was able to get in the paint a good amount, knock down some threes and keep them honest, and kind of open the game up.”
In the third quarter, Curry scored 28 points and helped the Warriors turn a 65-64 halftime deficit into a 105-91 lead. He was 10 of 13 from the field in the quarter 17 of 27 overall, including eight of 14 from three-point range.
“He’s a great, talented player,” Pelicans’ forward Ryan Anderson said. “But that’s something you expect from great players, they’re going to make shots.”
Curry’s 28 points set the record for most points in a quarter scored by an opposing player against the Pelicans and set his career high for points scored in a quarter.
“That was pretty impressive,” Warriors interim coach Luke Walton said. “I don’t think from the coaching seat you get to enjoy it as much (as) the other people in the arena.”
Curry has scored 118 points in his first three games, the most by a player to start the season since Michael Jordan in the 1989-90 season. He is also the first Warrior since Wilt Chamberlain in the 1962-63 season to score at least 118 points through the first three games.
“We let him off the hook. We just let it get out of hand,” said Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry, who spent last season as the Warriors associate head coach.
Draymond Green added 21 points, Klay Thompson 19 and Harrison Barnes 11 for Golden State, who open a three-game homestand on Monday against Memphis.
Anthony Davis rebounded from a sluggish start to lead the Pelicans with 26 points and 15 rebounds. Davis now has 100 double-doubles in his career.
Jrue Holiday scored 22 points, Anderson 19 and Toney Douglas 17 for New Orleans, who are 0-3 for the first time since 2004.
“I just think we have to do a better job all together,” Gentry said. “I thought we were very stagnant offensively, and we were better defensively doing what we practice every day.”
Second-chance points and Golden State’s spotty free-throw shooting helped the Pelicans take a 65-64 halftime lead, representing their first lead after any quarter this season.
“I was not frustrated at all,” Walton said of his team’s first-half effort. “It was a one-point game. There was all sorts of stuff we could have done better. Again, back-to-back road games in less than 24 hours, that is to be expected.”