Curry, Warriors breeze past Heat
MIAMI -- After he settled in his chair for the postgame press conference, Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra smiled slightly.
“Do you guys want to talk about the first half?” he asked.
It would be hard to blame Spoelstra for preferring that as the subject matter because the second half was a nightmare for Miami, beginning with a third quarter that saw the Golden State Warriors outscore his charges by 20.
In the end, Stephen Curry scored 30 points to lead Golden State to a 123-95 win over Miami on Sunday night at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Golden State (18-6), which is 3-0 on its current road trip, also got 24 points from Kevin Durant and 19 from Klay Thompson. With a 22-point lead after three quarters, Curry and Durant sat out the entire fourth.
”You can’t take away everything with that team,“ Spoelstra said of the reigning NBA champion Warriors. ”But as much as any team in the league, when they smell blood, they go for it, right then and right there.
“So many of their guys just come alive when they start to get it rolling -- each one of them becomes ignitable. They start foaming at the mouth when the game starts to turn.”
Curry, who scored 16 points in the first quarter, is one of those guys who can light up a scoreboard. He made 11 of 16 shots from the floor, including 5 of 9 on 3-point attempts.
However, the Warriors lost reserve guard Shaun Livingston due to an ejection with 6:24 left in the second quarter. Livingston, who thought he was fouled on a shot attempt, leaned in to argue with referee Courtney Kirkland. They appeared to accidentally bump heads, resulting in Livingston’s immediate dismissal.
“I know he got fouled,” said Warriors forward Draymond Green, who had a game-high nine assists to go with seven rebounds and four points. “I didn’t see the (contact), but I know there was something else to it.”
The Heat (11-12) was led by point guard Goran Dragic, who broke a slump with 20 points on 7-for-10 shooting. In his three previous games, Dragic failed to score in double figures, averaging 6.7 points on 30 percent shooting.
“It’s nice to see the ball go in,” Dragic said, “but that doesn’t mean anything if you lose.”
One bright spot for Miami: The Heat extended a franchise record with their 13th straight game with double-digit 3-pointers made. The Houston Rockets are the only NBA team with a longer active streak.
The Heat made 14 of 37 shots from 3-point range.
Miami small forward Josh Richardson had 12 points, reaching double figures in four straight games for the first time this season.
The Heat shot exceptionally well in the first period: 100 percent from the foul line (7-for-7), 62.5 percent on 3-pointers (5-of-8) and 52.5 on field goals overall.
Still, that was good enough for just a 36-33 lead as Miami allowed 30 or more points in the first quarter for the fourth straight game.
Golden State started to heat up in the second quarter, shooting 52.5 percent to Miami’s 42.9 percent. That was enough to give the Warriors a 62-60 halftime lead.
The Warriors outscored Miami 37-17 in a dominating third quarter, and the Heat were unable to recover.
Golden State, which dished out an NBA season-high 46 assists -- one short of its franchise record -- in its previous game, had 32 helpers against Miami.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr said that he preached defense at halftime, adding that he appreciates a recent trend in which his team takes over games in the third quarter.
“I like that pattern,” Kerr said. “Come out in the third quarter and make some stops, get on a little run offensively. It’s been working for us.”
NOTES: Warriors G Stephen Curry is dealing with a sore finger on his shooting hand. ... Heat C Hassan Whiteside is expected to miss at least two weeks due to a bone bruise on his left knee. ... The Heat will next depart for an exotic three-game trip, playing at the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday, vs. the Brooklyn Nets in Mexico City on Saturday and at the Memphis Grizzlies on Dec. 11. ... The Warriors are halfway through their longest trip of the season. They finish the six-game set with games at the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday, Charlotte Hornets (Wednesday) and Detroit Pistons (Friday).