Curry leads Warriors as Pelicans play-off hopes fadeWednesday, May 05, 2021
LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — Steph Curry erupted for 41 points as the Golden State Warriors stayed on course for the postseason with a 123-108 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday night.
Curry's 33rd 30-point game of the season helped the Warriors move to 33-32 to leave the team firmly in the hunt for a Western Conference play-in tournament place.
But the Warriors' road victory all but extinguished New Orleans' chances of reaching the play-offs.
The defeat means the Pelicans are now languishing outside the play-in competition places with a 29-36 record, four games adrift of the San Antonio Spurs.
Curry's latest masterclass in a season that has seen him emerge as a front-runner for NBA Most Valuable Player honours was his ninth 40-point game of the season, and the 47th 40-point game of his career.
The Warriors led from start to finish, rocking the Pelicans by sprinting into a 39-21 lead at the end of the first quarter and stretching into a 25-point lead midway through the second quarter.
“For us to come out like we did tonight in the first quarter and impose our will — it helped us maintain momentum throughout the game offensively,” Curry told ESPN after the win.
Curry said the Warriors would have to continue to improve to have a chance of progressing into the play-offs from the play-in tournament.
“We understand that if we're going to be in the play-in or the play-offs we've got to play more consistent basketball, night in, night out,” Curry said.
Curry was backed by Andrew Wiggins with 26 points while Draymond Green finished with a triple-double with 10 points, 13 rebounds, and 15 assists.
Pelicans star Zion Williamson led the New Orleans scorers with 32 points, with Brandon Ingram adding 19.
Pelicans Coach Stan Van Gundy blamed his team's sluggish first-quarter performance for the loss.
Elsewhere on Monday, the Denver Nuggets clinched their place in the play-offs despite sliding to a 93-89 defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Nuggets booked their place in the play-offs after the Atlanta Hawks defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 123-114.
The Lakers meanwhile halted a three-game losing streak despite the injury absence of LeBron James, ruled out with a sore right ankle just days after returning from his injury lay-off.
Anthony Davis led the Lakers scoring with 25 points, also producing a crucial late block after the Nuggets closed to within four points in the final seconds.
In other games, Russell Westbrook laid on a remarkable 24 assists to complete his 32nd triple-double of the season in the Washington Wizards' 154-141 home defeat of the Indiana Pacers.
Westbrook's latest triple — which also included 21 rebounds and 14 points — means he will average a triple-double for the season for the fourth time in his career.
Wizards Coach Scott Brooks said after the win he believes Westbrook is second only to Magic Johnson in the all-time point guard rankings.
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