Curry scores 23 in return, but Raptors clinch playoff spot
SAN FRANCISCO – Stephen Curry seemed every bit himself after a four-month layoff, save for a little long-range rust.
“He looks exactly the same to me,” coach Steve Kerr said.
Curry scored 23 points for Golden State in his anticipated return from a broken left hand, but the Toronto Raptors beat the Warriors 121-113 Thursday night to clinch a playoff spot.
After being sidelined 58 games, Curry led Golden State out of the tunnel to a big ovation – as loud as his neon sneakers, one pink and one yellow – and the crowd stirred every time he pulled up to shoot.
He missed his first two attempts, but had three quick assists, including a no-look, behind-the-back dish to Andrew Wiggins. He finished with seven assists and seven rebounds in 27 minutes.
“I was trying to be out there and not think about it,” Curry said. “If I needed to make that pass, make it and no hesitation. It was a good feeling, throwing the first one.”
The two-time MVP hit a 17-footer for his first basket early in the second quarter, then got a huge reaction for a 3-pointer from well beyond the arc shortly before halftime. He was 3 of 12 from 3-point range and 6 of 16 overall for the game, the only blemish on an otherwise encouraging night for the three-time champion.
“It was a cool vibe, competing like that,” he said.
Norman Powell scored a career-high 37 points for Toronto, which won in a rematch of last year’s NBA Finals. The Raptors won that series in six games, finishing with a victory in Golden State’s final game at its old arena in Oakland.
Kyle Lowry added 26 points and 10 assists, Serge Ibaka had 13 points and 13 rebounds, and Pascal Siakam had 17 points for the Raptors, who won at Phoenix on Tuesday night to end a three-game losing streak.
“Knowing that Steph was coming back, we knew it was going to be a great night, a great atmosphere,” Lowry said. “One of the best players in the league was coming back from injury, we were a little more focused and concentrated on him, but coming in here, it’s a great regular-season game.”
Damion Lee scored 23 points with five 3-pointers, and Marquese Chriss had 17 points and 12 rebound for the Warriors, who have lost 10 straight at home.
Curry was the only Golden State player in uniform who also played in last year’s Finals – a fact that hit him during warmups, when none of his teammates harmonized with his strict pregame routine.
They jelled better after tipoff. Curry connected a few times with Wiggins, acquired from Minnesota in February. Toronto swarmed Curry when he had the ball, and Wiggins was the biggest benefactor with 21 points.
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