OAKLAND, Calif. — Steve Kerr has spoken of Stephen Curry taking it to another level this season — and Kerr watched it from the bench for the first time Friday night.
The reigning MVP banked in a shot from midcourt with a hand in his face at the halftime buzzer after his three-quarter court swish at the end of the first was just late and he finished with 39 points and a triple-double, helping Kerr win his season debut in the Golden State Warriors‘ 122-110 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Friday night.
"Great coaching," Kerr quipped. "Steph hits half-court shots all the time in practice."
Kerr returned from a leave of absence dating to Oct. 1 for complications following two back surgeries, and defending champion Golden State delivered for him by winning its 38th straight home game at Oracle Arena to match the 1985-86 Celtics for third-longest home winning streak all-time. The Warriors are 20-0 at home this season.
Curry added 12 assists and 10 rebounds for his second triple-double of the season and seventh of his career. He shimmied after his half-court shot and pounded his chest following his 201st 3-pointer at the 6:26 mark of the third quarter.
"Two fun shots," Curry said of his long heaves. "I hadn’t hit one in a while in a game from that far since Memphis last year. Funny that the first one went in and didn’t count and then felt pretty confident in the second one just because I’d already done it once. Needed a little glass to help but it went in."
Golden State has 10 triple-doubles this season — Draymond Green has the other eight — to match the franchise record also done in 1959-60. Curry has 30 or more points in six of his last eight games, and Green added 22 points and 11 rebounds.
Curry also became the first player in NBA history to make 200 3-pointers in four straight seasons. The only player with more than four seasons of at least 200 3s is Ray Allen with five.
An emotional Kerr waved and said, "Thank you" when he received a rousing ovation during pregame introductions. He led the Warriors to a franchise-best 67 wins and their first championship in 40 years last season as a first-year coach. Interim coach Luke Walton guided Golden State to an NBA-record 24-0 start and 39-4 record, and now goes back to his job as top assistant.
"It was a special night to have Coach Kerr back on the bench with all he’s been through over the last seven months, to see him doing what he loves once again, it’s amazing," Green said.
Monta Ellis led the Pacers with 18 points in his return to Oracle to face his former team. Myles Turner, who had averaged 20 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.0 blocks over his previous two games, scored a career-high 31 points and grabbed eight rebounds.
Golden State made 10 of its first 14 shots, four of those by Green and two 3-pointers by Curry to go ahead 25-8 on the way to a season sweep of the Pacers. The Warriors put up a 79-point first half — most in a first half in the NBA this season — on the way to a 131-123 road win at Indiana on Dec. 8.
Kerr couldn’t wait to get back out there. He had "butterflies."
"I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. … I really missed the routine," Kerr said. "It feels like the first game of the season, which it is for me. Fortunately our team’s in a pretty good groove and hopefully we can keep going."
"He’s a good friend, and it signals the fact that he’s feeling much better, health-wise," said Spurs coach and Kerr friend Gregg Popovich, who will be here Monday night. "And that’s wonderful."
GEORGE ALL-STAR STARTER
Pacers coach Frank Vogel made a point to congratulate Paul George on being named an All-Star starter for the Eastern Conference in the Feb. 14 game at Toronto.
It’s been a long road back from that devastating right leg injury suffered with the U.S. national team on Aug. 2, 2014.
"So proud of him. I talked to him this afternoon," Vogel said. "You see that (injury) happen and you don’t know if you’re ever going to play the game again, or walk the same again. To come as far back as to get in some games last year and just return to the court was a huge accomplishment in my mind."
Pacers: Ellis played his initial 6 1/2 seasons for the Warriors from 2005-12, then was traded to Milwaukee in the deal that brought Andrew Bogut to Golden State in March 2012. … The Pacers were outrebounded 50-44.
Warriors: The two home winning streaks longer than Golden State’s current unbeaten run: Bulls’ 44 from March 30, 1995-April 4, 1996, and 40 by the Orlando Magic (March 21, ’95-March 19, ’96). The Warriors haven’t lost at Oracle since a 113-111 overtime defeat to Chicago last Jan. 27. … Golden State won its first season series against the Pacers since going 2-0 in 2000-01. … Kerr plans to keep some plays installed by Walton, saying, "Tough act to follow." … Bogut had three blocks in back-to-back games for the fourth time this season.
Pacers: At Sacramento on Saturday night.
Warriors: Host San Antonio on Monday night.