Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, pictured in November 2017, made a career-high 15 of his 16 free-throws against the Los Angeles Clippers
Los Angeles (AFP) - Stephen Curry scored 45 points and the Golden State Warriors cruised to a 121-105 NBA victory on Saturday over the Los Angeles Clippers, who lost star Blake Griffin to a concussion in the first quarter.
Curry, on fire since returning from an 11-game injury absence, connected on eight of his 16 three-point attempts, made a career-high 15 of his 16 free-throws, pulled down six rebounds and handed out three assists while sitting out the entire fourth quarter.
In the four games since his return, Curry has averaged 36 points while shooting 65.6 percent from the field, 53.8 percent from three-point range and 89.6 percent from the free-throw line.
Curry’s all-around performance meant the reigning NBA champion Warriors hardly missed forward Kevin Durant, who was again sidelined with a right calf strain.
Leading by nine at halftime, the Warriors out-scored the Clippers 39-21 in the third quarter, expanding the lead to as many as 30 points.
For the Clippers, it was more than a demoralizing defeat.
Griffin was hurt in a frightening incident with less than three minutes left in the first quarter.
He was driving to the basket and seemed to slip before Warriors reserve center JaVale McGee, trying to cut Griffin off, inadvertently caught him in the forehead with an elbow.
Griffin collapsed to the court, shaking as he held his head in his hands.
He remained down for several minutes before he was helped up and walked carefully to the locker room.
Griffin, a five-time All-Star, has already missed 14 games this season with a sprained knee ligament.
Playing just his fourth game since returning from that injury, Griffin was averaging 23.6 points, 7.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists coming into the contest.
“Honestly I didn’t see it,” coach Doc Rivers said. “When you have the ability to look up and see the replay, obviously he was hit pretty had.
“When you see Blake’s hand (shaking), you know it’s bad,” Rivers said.
It was yet another injury blow for the Clippers, who were missing Austin Rivers with a bruised right heel, Milos Teodosic with a foot injury, Danilo Gallinari and Patrick Beverley – who is out for the year after right knee surgery.
“We had 90 points of offense sitting in street clothes,” Rivers said of his depleted squad, but he acknowledged that the Warriors “offensive assault” affected his players.
“I just thought tonight, overall the first half we hung in there until the last three minutes of the quarter and then it just got away from us.”