Stephen Curry leads Warriors to their best start since 73-win season

SACRAMENTO — Stephen Curry turned in his third straight double-double, as the Warriors stayed unbeaten with a 119-107 win over the Sacramento Kings. Almost like it’s 2015-16 again. Only 21 more to go.

At 3-0, the Warriors are off to their best start since their record-setting 73-win campaign of six seasons ago, which they began by reeling off 24 in a row before their first loss. And it’s been fueled by a vintage Curry, who turned in his third double-double effort in as many games with 27 points and 10 assists, along with seven rebounds, to help Golden State pull away late at the Golden1 Center.

“I think this was our best game of the three so far,” coach Steve Kerr said afterward. “When we take care of the ball, we’re really hard to beat. This was the best two-way game that we’ve played.”

Three games into the season, Curry is only one away from tying his personal best for consecutive double-doubles. He also became the first Warrior and 69th player in NBA history with 5,000 career assists on a first-half dish to Damion Lee.

Third-year guard Jordan Poole provided a scoring spark behind Curry, with 22 points, followed by Andrew Wiggins’ 17 points (including a clutch, contested shot to maintain the Warriors fourth-quarter lead) and Draymond Green with 14 (plus seven assists and five boards).

Harrison Barnes’ breakaway dunk toward the end of the third quarter ignited the home crowd and could have been the dagger in the Dubs. But Curry answered immediately with a step-back 3-pointer that tied the game. He tried it again, and missed, but Otto Porter Jr. was there to clean it up for 2 points and the lead, which the Warriors never fully relinquished.

Without Curry on the floor, the Warriors fell in another first-half hole. When he sat down for his usual second-quarter rest, the Kings turned a tie game into a deficit as large as eight points for Golden State.

Almost an entire quarter lapsed between Warriors leads.

But Golden State regained control to pull even before halftime.

The Warriors forced more turnovers (20-8), didn’t often send Sacramento to the foul line (13 attempts) and turned in their third straight game of at least 50 rebounds (53, matching Sacramento). Yet, the game was still undecided until the closing minutes of the fourth quarter.

The Kings were almost unstoppable from the field for three quarters. They connected on 34 of their first 64 shot attempts (53.1%), which would’ve been the highest success rate of any Warriors opponent this season, but were limited to 8 of 22 (36.4%) in the final period.

Without Andre Iguodala (sore left knee), Golden State turned to Gary Payton II first off the bench. Payton II was nearly a victim of roster cuts at the end of preseason but made an immediate impact when he entered, forcing a steal and finishing a thunderous dunk on a breakaway lob from Curry.

“If somebody had picked him up I would’ve been happy for him, but selfishly I wanted him for my roster,” Kerr said of the waiver-wire drama that defined Payton’s final week of the preseason. “He gives us a dimension out there that really adds to our team.”

Payton finished with 10 points in 17 minutes and knocked down a pair of key 3-pointers that protected the Warriors’ lead in the fourth quarter. Lee rounded out the six Warriors in double figures with 11 points.

AND ONE

  • Curry is now the sole owner of the two longest streaks with a 3-pointer in NBA history. His first of four triples Sunday made it 128 straight games, breaking a tie with Kyle Korver for the second-longest streak, behind only Curry’s previous 157-game run.

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Author: Evan Webeck

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