OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – Long before tipoff, Stephen Curry swished his routine tunnel shot on the second try. Once the game began, the two-time MVP stood along the bench anxiously waiting for his turn, shaking his legs and clapping his hands with nervous energy and anticipation.
Then — mouthpiece dangling, of course — Curry finally entered at the 4:20 mark of the first quarter to a roaring ovation from the Oracle Arena crowd and immediately got to work. He knocked down a 3-pointer from the left wing 11 seconds later and was off and running in Golden State’s 121-116 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday night.
“It was an eternity it felt like, for sure,” Curry said. “When the lights come back on after the starting lineups you’re usually in the go kind of mind frame. I had to kind of pace myself and be patient with it. It seemed like it took forever but it was a good feeling to get back out on the floor and just let loose and have fun.”
Curry came off the bench to score 28 points in a triumphant return from a knee injury and nearly six weeks off, and the Warriors held off Anthony Davis and the pesky Pelicans to go ahead 2-0 in the Western Conference semifinals.
All is right with the Warriors again now that No. 30 is back on the floor — even as a backup.
“It brought a lot of life to the building, a lot of life to our team’s spirit. Pretty fitting for sure,” Draymond Green said of Curry’s immediate 3.
Cavaliers 113, Raptors (OT)
In Toronto, this time, LeBron James didn’t have to do it all by himself.
James had 26 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds for his 21st career playoff triple-double, J.R. Smith scored 20 points and the Cavaliers beat the Raptors in overtime to win Game 1 of their second-round playoff series.
Kyle Korver scored 19 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer in overtime after Cleveland never led in regulation. Tristan Thompson had 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who have eliminated Toronto in each of the past two postseasons.
“My teammates were unbelievable tonight,” James said. “They stepped up when I wasn’t at my best.”
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5