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Warriors Observations: Steph Curry drops 38 in big win over Thunder

Steph Curry drops 38

The Warriors survived a late scare Monday night to claim a 128-120 victory over the Thunder at the Paycom Center in downtown Oklahoma City.

Holding a comfortable double-digit lead through the first half and most of the third quarter, the Warriors had to dig in after the Thunder pulled within two in the fourth quarter.

Stephen Curry led the way, scoring a game-high 38 points. Klay Thompson had 28 points, while Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole each added 15.

The Warriors shot 51.1 percent from the field, including 42.6 percent from beyond the arc.

Here are three observations from Golden State’s third straight win and Game 1 of a three-game Western Conference road trip:

steph arrives

Curry played a few iconic games in Oklahoma City — perhaps most notably his winning 35-footer “double shot” in February 2016 — and he was fantastic that night.

It wasn’t just the 38 points, on 12 of 20 shooting, including 8 of 14 from deep. There were the 12 assists, eight rebounds, blocked shot and plus-17 in 37 minutes. His 3-pointer with 2:35 remaining forced an OKC timeout and revived Golden State’s stagnant offense.

Beyond those mundane details, however, Curry was a picture of control and composure. When he was upstairs, the Warriors tended to possess the building.

Curry was especially important in the fourth quarter, effectively putting the Thunder to sleep on a night when he passed Wilt Chamberlain to become the franchise’s all-time leader in field goals.

Non-Steph minutes were, uh, problematic

The Warriors took a 94-85 lead in the fourth quarter, which coach Steve Kerr opened up by giving Curry his customary rest. But instead of the typical six minutes, he only got a four-minute break.

That’s because the Thunder opened the fourth with a 13-6 run, closing the gap to 100-98 with 8:22 remaining.

This forced a quick comeback for Curry. With an upcoming straight road against the hot Timberwolves (11-4 in their last 15 games) and the conference-leading Nuggets, Kerr made this game a high priority.

Kerr in his pregame press conference spoke about the quality of play from the bench. He was right. Reserves have improved. The start of the fourth quarter was an unwanted throwback to some of their work at the start of this season.

Back to Warriors basketball of yesteryear

Since failing to record at least 30 assists in four straight games this month, the Warriors are getting familiar with the concept of effective passing.

They wasted no time against the Thunder, collecting 15 assists in the first quarter – a season high for any quarterback – to take a 38-20 lead in the second quarter. Golden State finished with 37 assists.

That follows a game of 40 assists in a win over the Raptors last Friday and 33 assists in a win over the Grizzlies last Wednesday. The average over the last three games: 36.7 assists per.

RELATED: Game vs. Thunder start of an important period for the Warriors

Golden State averaged 27.3 assists during the aforementioned four-game streak in which they went 2-2. They are 3-0 in the last three games.

Plus, this offense is much more like the one the Warriors have typically played in their five straight NBA Finals runs.

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