OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Golden State Warriors overwhelmed the Milwaukee Bucks 117-92 as Stephen Curry finally broke out from distance. Curry went 9-of-13 for 28 points in 30 minutes, hitting 6-of-8 from beyond the arc.
A few of his treys were the kind of high-difficulty, deep-distance attempts Oracle fans had come to expect while still disbelieving as they rained forth. Simply put, after a long layoff, Curry was Curry again.
For the Warriors, it was a dreary start that was suddenly corrected. The Bucks began moving the ball well and pushing in transition. They were on fire, nailing 11 of their first 14 shots and building a 14-point lead.
Enter JaVale McGee, logical Warriors savior. McGee's presence changed the energy, helping Golden State get some transition opportunities of its own as he stretched the defense with his sprinting. In his eight-minute first-half stint, McGee was plus-19.
As for Curry, he looked fresh throughout.
"Ya! Thank God I rested him last week!" Warriors coach Steve Kerr cracked of Curry's resurgence on Saturday.
That's one theory, as is the notion that Steph's old nemesis Matthew Dellavedova might have served as his muse. At the end of the first quarter, in a sequence that evoked memories of Game 5 from the 2015 Finals, Curry escape-dribbled away from Delly and into a step-back 3 at the buzzer.
The good times continued from there, as the Warriors turned what had been a 14-point deficit into a 19-point lead at the half. Eventually Golden State would push the lead to 27, outscoring the Bucks 77-36 over a 27-minute stretch in which Giannis Antetokounmpo missed all seven of his shots. Draymond Green deserves much credit for making the inchoate superstar look far more human than freakish. He did well to constantly hound Antetokounmpo, who finished a meager 1-of-5 with Green guarding him, according to ESPN Stats & Information (and 4-of-14 overall).
"Not letting him get to the hole," Green said of his recipe for guarding Antetokounmpo. "In transition it's tough to stop him when he's going full speed, but I felt good about a couple plays there in transition where I made him have to drop the ball off because I didn't give him an angle to the rim. I take that as a win because usually that's a dunk for him."
Curry got loose at the end of the second quarter, his stretch culminating in what might have been his farthest 3-pointer, non-buzzer-beater edition. The Bucks had rushed to get a 2-for-1 opportunity, perhaps not counting on Curry to one up their efforts. With 32 seconds left in the half, Curry wasted no time, dribbling quickly and, at the 29-second mark, unleashing a shot with his heels still on the half-court logo. Swish.
"In that situation really any shot ..." Curry interrupted himself before calling his baseball throw a "good" shot. "Not any shot's a good shot. It's a decent shot that went in.
"Soon as I got the rebound, Shaun [Livingston] was telling me 2-for-1 and I kind of zeroed in a spot I wanted to pull up from with the time that was on the clock and the difference between shot clock and game clock and it worked out."
It was that kind of night for Curry, who sank a couple of more 3s in the third quarter before his night became about rest. Klay Thompson (9-of-16, 21 points) hit a few shots to keep the game in garbage-time range. Also of note was another solid Andre Iguodala performance. He also spent some time on Antetokounmpo while contributing an efficient 15 points (10 shots) to go along with four assists. He continues to be Golden State's most consistent performer since the All-Star break.
But this game will mostly be remembered, insofar as March games are, for Curry's contributions. His recent rash of missed 3-pointers was truly mystifying. Is he rolling again? That's too early to say. At the very least, he flaunted an ability to perform like an MVP. The big question for Golden State, beyond when Kevin Durant's returning, is whether Steph's MVP form becomes a habit or occasional surprise.