OAKLAND (California) • Instead of celebrating one of his signature shots at the end of the second quarter on Saturday, Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry took time at half-time to reflect on something his college coach once told him.
It led to even greater things following the break than before it.
Riding the momentum of a 51-foot, buzzer-beating swish at the end of the first half, Curry bombed in five three-pointers in a personal 25-point, third-quarter explosion, helping the Warriors rout the Los Angeles Clippers 144-98 in the National Basketball Association.
"My coach at Davidson College, Bob McKillop, always talked about 'Big Mo' going into the half," recalled Curry, a standout at the North Carolina school from 2006 to 2009. "You make a shot like (the half-courter), obviously I was thinking about it at the half. Then I hit my first shot in the third, and I really got it going from there. Big Mo."
Golden State are the first team in National Basketball Association history to have 40 wins before their 50th game in three straight seasons.
The Warriors have three games this season with 140 points or more. The rest of the NBA have three.
With 25 points in the third quarter, Warriors guard Stephen Curry single-handedly outscored the Clippers (23) in that period.
Curry's 51-foot buzzer-beater was his longest shot of the season.
He poured in a game-high 43 points, delivering the Warriors (40-7) their eighth straight regular-season victory over their Pacific Division rivals. The 46-point margin of victory was Golden State's biggest of the season. The Clippers, meanwhile, had not previously lost by more than 26 this year.
"We just got embarrassed on national television," Clippers guard Austin Rivers harshly noted afterward. "Nobody's feeling good right now, I can tell you that."
Curry connected from one stride beyond the midcourt line at the end of the second quarter, but his best was yet to come.
He was good on eight of his 11 shots in the third period, including five of his eight three-point attempts. He had 25 of Golden State's 45 points that turned a 21-point halftime lead into a 117-74 blowout.
Despite not playing in the fourth period, he recorded his third game of 40 or more points this season and came within three of his season-high, set in November against New Orleans.
Kevin Durant added 23 points and a team-high seven assists, and Klay Thompson had 16 points.
Curry also found time for a team-high nine rebounds and six assists, helping Golden State gain a 48-32 advantage on the boards and record 30-plus assists for the 31st time this season with 35. The Warriors are now 30-1 when logging 30 or more assists in a game.
"The overall dynamics within the team have been established," Warriors coach Steve Kerr observed of his club. "I think what Steph has realised is he can be himself."
Blake Griffin, playing for just the second time since returning from knee surgery, led the Clippers with 20 points.
"We didn't play with the right type of attitude of whatever you want to call it," he said.