SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Jordan Poole scored 26 points, Stephen Curry had 19 and the Golden State Warriors routed the New Orleans Pelicans 126-85 on Friday night to improve to 7-1.
Gary Payton II added 17 points, and the Warriors broke it open with a 34-point third quarter. They’re off to their best start since opening 10-1 in 2018-19.
Jonas Valanciunas scored 20 points for the Pelicans. They dropped to 1-9 as they start the season without injured star forward Zion Williamson.
Golden State has won 15 of its past 17 against New Orleans in the Bay Area.
The Warriors led by as 15 in the first half, but entered the intermission with just a 54-50 lead. They opened things up with a 22-6 run in the third, a chunk of which came with Curry resting on the bench, and took an 88-66 cushion into the fourth.
Payton, gaining a bigger role in the Warriors’ rotation, had seven points in the third and a handful of crowd-pleasing dunks on the night. He contributed to Golden State’s 57-30 advantage in bench scoring.
BACK IN TOWN
Pelicans coach Willie Green served on Warriors coach Steve Kerr’s staff for three seasons, including two championship runs in 2017 and 2018.
Green said the two keep in touch regularly. That wisdom likely comes in handy as Green endures a tough start to his first season as an NBA head coach.
“I learned to be poised (from Kerr),” Green said. “How important it is to always take in the human factor when dealing with players. Steve has a great way about him.”
Pelicans: Forward Brandon Ingram (hip contusion) missed his fourth consecutive game. New Orleans also was without Herbert Jones (concussion), a 6-foot-7 rookie who’s been a versatile defender so far.
Warriors: Kerr said he’ll continue experimenting with how he spreads out Curry’s minutes. Curry typically has started the second quarter on the bench, but Wednesday against Charlotte, he got a brief rest in the first quarter and started the second on the floor surrounded by reserves. “It was a chance for us to see him leading the second unit, which was very interesting,” Kerr said. Kerr’s goal is to cap Curry at 33 or 34 minutes a game to keep him fresh.
Warriors: Host Houston on Sunday night.
© Copyright 2021 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed