OAKLAND, Calif. — With his team up 21 points at halftime on Saturday night, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr felt compelled to remind his players they had another game on Sunday in Los Angeles.
The message: Take care of business and get some rest.
The Warriors did just that, extending their lead to as many as 30 points in the third quarter before calling off the dogs in a 112-87 thumping of the Charlotte Hornets.
“We said, ‘We have another game (Sunday), so let’s not mess around,'” Kerr said afterward. “We were able to do that. Nobody played 30 minutes. Hopefully, we will be fresh and ready to go in LA.”
Warriors starters were able to clock out early thanks in large part to a strong finish to the second quarter. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes did all the scoring in an 18-4 flurry late in the quarter that put Golden State in command.
“That was a great effort … our best effort of the year,” Kerr said. “We really put it together. The defense was terrific and that really fueled our offense.
“It was fun to watch.”
The Warriors shot 58 percent from the field in the runaway first half and 51.7 percent overall in running their season-opening record to 7-2 for the first time in 20 years.
The Warriors began the night as the league leaders in field goal percentage at 49.1 percent and improved on the mark while completing a 2-1 homestand.
Golden State has outshot its opponent in all nine of its games.
The Hornets finished at 38.1 percent from the field on the final night of a weeklong, four-game Western swing.
“You have to have a certain energy level and readiness to play, especially against a team as good as them, which we did not have,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. “They can make you look bad, and that’s what happened.”
Not forgotten on the Warriors was the fact the Hornets, then known as the Bobcats, posted a two-game, season-series sweep of Golden State last year.
“We owe this club one. They’ve had our number,” Thompson insisted. “We were clicking on all cylinders. It was good to get one like this to start a back-to-back.”
Behind 10 early points from center Al Jefferson, the Hornets hung within 30-27 in the second minute of the second quarter. They were only down 46-35 with 4:53 left in the half before the Warriors’ big spurt.
Curry hit two 3-pointers among eight points in the run, and Thompson and Barnes each added a 3 during five-point contributions, as the Warriors ran off to a 64-39 lead with 1:23 remaining in the quarter.
With his dad Dell, a Hornets broadcaster, watching from courtside, Curry posted a near-double-double with 19 points and nine assists in just 28 minutes. He also found time for five rebounds.
Curry also hounded Hornets counterpart Kemba Walker into 3-for-14 shooting from the field and just eight points.
“I’m trying to take responsibility of my defensive duty by pressuring my point guard by forcing them into different situations and difficult shots,” Curry said. “I’m just trying to take them out of their offense.”
Thompson, who made his 200th NBA start, led the Warriors with 21 points, hitting seven of his 13 shots from the field and 4 of 6 3-pointers. Barnes finished with 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field.
Center Andrew Bogut chipped in a season-high 13 points and a team-high nine rebounds for the Warriors, who outrebounded the Hornets 51-41.
Jefferson had 19 points and six rebounds for Charlotte (4-6), which was coming off a 103-95 win at Phoenix on Friday night. The Hornets went 1-3 on their trip.
“We just weren’t ready to play,” Jefferson said. “Coach told us if we didn’t come out ready to play, they could score 135 points on us. They almost got that.”
Backup point guard Brian Roberts had 17 points and shooting guard Lance Stephenson made seven of his 10 shots from the field en route to 16 points for the Hornets, who were playing for the second consecutive night without starting small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. He is out with a stress fracture in his right foot.
Hornets backup big man Cody Zeller was the game’s leading rebounder with 10.
NOTES: Hornets backup SG Gary Neal suffered a possible concussion when his head hit the floor in the second quarter. He will undergo the NBA’s protocol for concussions before the club knows when he will be able to play again. … Hornets PF Noah Vonleh, the No. 9 overall pick of the 2014 draft, made his NBA debut with a steal and a missed shot in six minutes. … The Warriors’ largest lead of the game was 34 points, 108-74, in the fourth quarter. It was their biggest lead of the season. … The last time the Warriors played against a Charlotte team known as the Hornets, PG Baron Davis, who went on to become a fan favorite in Oakland, had a triple-double for the Hornets in a 114-102 win on Jan. 3, 2002.
NBA Team Salaries
- NBA Betting Picks: Sacramento Kings vs Los Angeles Clippers preview, prediction and picks
- NBA Betting Picks: Dallas Mavericks vs New Orleans Pelicans preview, prediction and picks
- NBA Betting Picks: Charlotte Hornets vs Milwaukee Bucks preview, prediction & picks
- NBA Betting Picks: Minnesota Timberwolves vs Washington Wizards preview, picks and predictions
- NBA Betting Picks: Denver Nuggets vs Orlando Magic preview, picks and prediction