Steph Curry leads Warriors to critical win over lottery-bound Thunder

The Warriors’ game against the Thunder at Chase Center on Thursday night featured two teams with different objectives: one is jostling for playoff positioning; the other is trying to acclimate young players to the NBA.

By that measure, Golden State guard Stephen Curry offered Oklahoma City’s baby-faced 20-somethings an important lesson. In leading the Warriors to a 118-97 win, he showed Thunder players that, when defending an all-time great, even sound fundamentals don’t suffice.

On numerous occasions, Oklahoma City’s youngsters kept a proper defensive stance and rotated at the right time, only for Curry to weave through traffic for an up-and-under layup or drain a deep 3-pointer. Unsure of what else they could have done, OKC players were left to shake their heads and shrug.

Curry scored 17 of his 34 points in the third quarter to give the Warriors a 16-point lead entering the fourth. His team up 100-83 midway through that final quarter, he checked back in and watched as guard Mychal Mulder hit two 3-pointers and a layup to ensure that Curry’s night could end with 4:12 left.

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“A lot of guys played well,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said. “We just did what we had to do.”

With postseason implications at stake, the Warriors rid the game of doubt against a lottery-bound opponent, so seldom-used reserves could get some much-appreciated run. The win gave Golden State sole possession of eighth place in the…

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