NEW ORLEANS — Stephen Curry had the outside covered for the Golden State Warriors. And, Andrew Bogut had things in check inside, particularly defensively.
It made for a tough combination, and with the rest of the Warriors playing off them on both ends of the court, Golden State wore down the New Orleans Hornets 93-72 on Monday at New Orleans Arena.
“We were unable to establish an inside game, and they did a good job switching on defense,” said Hornets coach Monty Williams after the Hornets shot just 33.7 percent from the field, including 17.6 percent on 3-point attempts. “We won the first and third quarters, but for whatever reason, we lost the second and fourth. We took a lot of bad shots.”
The loss was the seventh in eight games for the Hornets, who began a seven-game home schedule Monday, but a brutal one featuring six teams currently in playoff spots as the season winds down.
The victory was the Warriors’ (39-30) second consecutive on the road, coming after a huge one at Houston on Sunday that enabled them to keep hold of the Western Conference’s sixth playoff spot.
“This is a game that validates (Sunday) night’s, how big that was to start the road trip,” Curry said. “If we drop an egg (Monday night), (the Sunday win) means nothing. So, big win for us.”
Curry, who leads the NBA in 3-pointers made, scored 30 points, including 6-of-9 on 3-point shots, as the Warriors shot 50 percent from the field. Power forward David Lee, who leads the NBA in double-doubles, had 20 points and 11 rebounds.
Bogut, who has missed 42 games with ankle and back injuries, scored just eight points, but had nine rebounds, five assists, four blocked shots, which tied a season-high, and one steal. He all but sealed up the lane, and the Hornets were reduced to jump shooters against solid defense and frustrated drivers to the basket.
Ryan Anderson led the Hornets (22-46) with 21 points and nine rebounds, Anthony Davis had 16 points and seven rebounds and Greivis Vasquez had 14 points and nine assists.
“(Bogut) was protecting the rim,” Curry said. “We knew Ryan Anderson was going to come off the bench to try and provide an impact to their offense, especially with Eric Gordon out. So we were able to switch a lot on the pick and rolls they use and force him into some tough shots.”
However, the Hornets had come to 80-72 on a 3-pointer by point guard Greivis Vasquez with 5:49 left. Then, the Warriors went on a final 13-0 run. Bogut, with Anderson guarding him, made two hook shots, and Curry sank another 3 to highlight it.
“We like the advantage of having power forwards on him, and we were able to take advantage of that,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. “He’s a guy who can score and also facilitate, and he makes great decisions.”
The Hornets were within eight points entering the fourth quarter, but the effort, Golden State’s bench and its offensive and defensive pressure were too much. Golden State outscored the Hornets 24-11 in the fourth quarter, the second one in which the Hornets struggled mightily.
A minute and a half into the third, Davis blocked Thompson’s drive, but the Hornets could not take advantage of the fast-break opportunity. The Warriors got the rebound and charged up court, and Curry sank a 3 for a 50-40 lead at 10:09. Curry dropped in another 3 at 7:13 to push it to 57-44.
The Hornets’ best offense, meanwhile, came on dunks by Davis. He slammed a rebound and two lobs from Vasquez, the second cutting the lead to 60-52.
However, each time, Golden State answered. Thompson sank a jumper after the Davis dunk, then hit a 14-footer a minute later after a 3-pointer by Anderson, keeping the Warriors out front 64-55 with 3:22 left.
Then, after Anderson sank another 3 at 1:46 to cut it to 66-59, Thompson came back with a 3. But Brian Roberts made two free throws with 23 seconds left to bring the Hornets to eight entering the fourth.
The Hornets seemed to be in control early in the second quarter, but found themselves trailing 45-36 at halftime after scoring just two points in the last six minutes and finishing the quarter with 14.
New Orleans led 34-30 after a drive by Vasquez. However, Jack made two free throws, Curry a 16-footer and Thompson a 3-pointer, and the Warriors were on their way with a 15-2 run.
The Hornets signed guard Terrel Harris to a second 10-day contract on Monday. Harris, 6 feet 4, signed his first 10-day contract with the team on March 8. ...The Hornets will host their annual Toast for the Coast on Saturday at
6 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency (601 Loyola Avenue, New Orleans). Reservations can be made by calling (504) 593-4992. For additional information, visit http://Hornets.com/toastforthecoast.
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