Steph Curry

Steph's quest for redemption comes up short in Warriors' loss

NBC Universal, Inc. Steph Curry speaks to the media after the Golden State Warriors’ 114-109 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night at Chase Center.

SAN FRANCISCO – Stephen Curry’s competitive heart was on full display Friday night, at full roar during his quest for atonement.

The Warriors were in their latest most important game of the season, facing the robust New Orleans Pelicans. And Curry, displeased over his earlier transgressions, was in pain but banished the thought of limping off.

He scored 16 of his 33 points in the final 7:12 of the game. He scored or assisted on 13 of 15 points, slicing the deficit from 12 to three when draining his last 3-ball with 56.8 seconds remaining.

That was the end of a comeback spirited enough to rock Chase Center but unable to prevent a 114-109 loss that was a direct result of the damage Curry and his teammates had done to themselves earlier.

“Our turnovers killed us,” coach Steve Kerr said. “We had really good control of the game in the first quarter. Held them to 17. Our defense was great. Then we just started turning it over. [Jose] Alvarado came in, put a lot of pressure on the ball, we couldn't execute offensively . . .. So that’s where the game flipped for sure.”

Twelve brutal minutes. That’s how long it took for Golden State, which took the floor having won nine of its last 10 games, to go from peaking down the stretch to being bent over and spanked in public.

Returning to Chase Center after a successful two-game road trip and feeling confident about maintaining momentum, the Warriors (45-36) played the worst second quarter they or anyone else could have imagined.

They committed nine turnovers, giving away 15 points and launching the Pelicans toward a scoring exhibition for the ages: 45 points on 69.6 percent (16 of 23) from the field, including 76.9 percent (10 of 13) from deep.

“They made seven more threes than us,” Kerr said, “but it was the turnovers that led to transition that got them going.”

It was shocking how easy the Pelicans made it look. The 10-point lead the Warriors owned two minutes into the second quarter was gone in the next three minutes. And once the game was tied, New Orleans kept up the pressure and outscored Golden State 23-8 over the final 5:23 of the half, taking a 62-48 lead into the locker room.

It rubbed Curry the wrong way that four of his seven turnovers were committed in that fatal second quarter, as the Warriors trailed the entire second half.

“The momentum shifted in the second quarter,” Curry said. “I had way too many turnovers tonight, and they were the ones that – not all turnovers are created equal – fueled transition. Live-ball ones. They took full advantage of pretty much every-single one and that little stretch in the second quarter just gave them life.

“This league is really a momentum league. They hit a couple transition threes, get a couple layups, start to feel good about themselves, and it carried over.”

Hard as the Warriors tried to recover, fighting back in the fourth quarter behind Curry, they didn’t have enough to overcome the younger, quicker, longer and bouncier Pelicans (49-32), who sit in sixth place in the Western Conference.

"Our guys, in the second half, the way they fought was amazing to watch,” Kerr said. “The competitive spirit. The energy. These guys, they’ve been doing it for 12-15 years, winning championships, playing deep into June.

“Here we are fighting for the play-in. These guys are Hall of Famers. And you see the effort that they gave, the fight to get back into the game and to give ourselves a chance. It was beautiful.”

The fourth quarter was about Draymond Green grabbing rebounds and flipping dimes. It was about Klay Thompson scoring seven points, blocking two shots and playing all 12 minutes.

And it was about Curry, who tweaked his right ankle a couple minutes after he entered the game. There initially was a detectable limp, but he never left the floor and was breathing down the necks of the Pelicans.

“We gave ourselves a good chance in the fourth,” said Curry, who described his ankle tweak as mild. “Under 15 seconds down three, I got a look that felt like I had a chance to tie the game and took a chance. But we didn't ever quit.

“It was just one of those games that you look at that second quarter stretch, and that’s where it got away from us and some untimely turnovers.”

Consider this newest chapter in a season with more agony than joy.

Three days after climbing from 10th place to ninth in the West, the Warriors are back in 10th. And their pursuit of eighth place – which would allow two chances to win one NBA Play-In Tournament game – is considerably more difficult.

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