Sleepy Warriors wake up in time to stop the Magic

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 22, 2017 4:45 PM

(The Sports Xchange) - Even when they are half asleep, the Golden State Warriors still dominate the NBA.

With an East Coast start time of noon, the Warriors awakened slowly Sunday but finished with a flourish, overpowering the Orlando Magic 118-98 at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida.

The Warriors (38-6) won their seventh consecutive game, keeping pace to become the first NBA team in history to win at least 65 games for three consecutive seasons.

Stephen Curry hit 7 of 13 3-pointers and scored a game-high 27 points, dominating the third quarter after a lackluster first half.

"It was an early start, and a challenge mentally, but it shouldn't matter what time of day it is," Curry said. "We want to win whenever we play. We showed how much winning means to this team."

Curry scored 16 points in the third quarter when the Warriors turned a tied game into an 18-point lead that was never challenged.

Warriors guard Clay Thompson scored 21 points and hit 7 of 9 3-pointers. Kevin Durant had 15 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Draymond Green scored just six points but had 10 rebounds.

"I needed a wakeup call today," Green said. "It's difficult to play this early. You could tell by the way we played at the start. But that's the NBA, and we figured it out and got it done."

It was the 20th consecutive game the Warriors scored at least 100 points and upped their record to 14-1 against teams from the Eastern Conference this season.

Guard Eldrid Payton led the Magic (18-28) with 23 points and 10 assists. Reserve center Bismack Biyombo had 12 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Nikola Vucevic and Jeff Green each scored 12 points and Serge Ibaka had 10 points.

For Curry, it was the 10th consecutive game he scored at least 20 points. For the Warriors, it was the first time since 1995 they played a noon game in the Eastern time zone and they had eight turnovers in the first six minutes before they opened their eyes.

"It was weird," Curry said. "We struggled early, but we left our mark in the third quarter. That's when we were at our best."

The Magic shot poorly from the 3-point line (7 of 28) and at the free throw line (7 of 16), giving the Warriors more than enough help to pull away.

"There's just no margin for error against them," Magic coach Frank Vogel said. "The way you punch back against them is by making shots yourself. We missed too many today."

(Editing by Andrew Both)