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Stephen Curry goes off in return to lineup as Golden State Warriors beat Memphis Grizzlies


OAKLAND, Calif. — After missing the last 11 games for the Golden State Warriors with a right ankle sprain, Stephen Curry returned to action in emphatic fashion.

On Saturday the two-time MVP exploded for 38 points and shot 13-for-17 from the floor and nailed a season-high 10 3s out of 13 in 26 minutes to guide the Warriors to a 141-128 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.

It’s his ninth 30-point games of the season and his 10 treys are the highest total for any player this season. It has been nearly a month since he last played in an NBA game, but he appeared to haven’t missed a beat.

Even though Curry was on a minute restriction that wouldn’t exceed 30 minutes, it didn’t restrict his offensive prowess. He did whatever he wanted. Whether it was driving to the hole, popping in transition or moving around screens, the Grizzlies simply didn’t have an answer for him and it started early on.

Curry, played the first eight minutes of the game, producing seven points on two layups and a triple from the top of the key. In the opening quarter, 14 of the team’s 37 assists occurred and it was one assist off the franchise record for assists in a quarter. Golden State distributed 15 three times in history.

If there was any doubt Curry wasn’t his old self, a play late in the second quarter reminded the fans of just how special he is. He passed the ball to Zaza Pachulia along the baseline and then ran behind the big man. Pachulia, without looking back, bounced the ball between his legs to Curry and the sharpshooter quickly with the flick of his wrist, got the shot off and drained a corner 3-pointer. Most of the fans in attendance at Oracle Arena jumped out of their seats.

That was the zest the Warriors’ offense has been missing for most of the month of December. After the first two quarters, Curry recorded 21 points on 7-of-9 from the field and 5-of-7 from downtown in 14 minutes. In the third quarter, Curry even dove for the ball, saving it before going out of bounds and landed near camera personnel. The fans held their breath, but collectively exhaled once he hopped up to get back on offense. When he exited the game with two minutes remaining in the third, he was greeted to a standing ovation.

With the Warriors up 14 with 4:53 left in the contest, Curry re-entered the game and embarrassed Marc Gasol. Moments in, Gasol switch onto him and Curry crossed him up twice, leaving Gasol staggering back and Curry swished his 10th triple. It was just his night. After that, he was subbed out for good.

The 141 points scored is more than the Warriors scored in any of the 11 games played without Curry and the 18 3-pointers are the most since, as well. It’s also the most the Warriors have ever scored against the Grizzlies.

Klay Thompson secured 21 points and was 5-for-11 from downtown. Kevin Durant chipped in 20 points, five boards and nine assists. Warriors power forward Draymond Green was ejected with 9:45 left in the second quarter. He picked up two technical fouls, which is an automatic ejection. The first technical came a minute and a half into the second when he argued with official Tre Maddox that a foul he was charged with was a clean strip. The second one occurred when he challenged Deyonte Davis at the rim and he was whistled for the foul.

Right after the play, Green was seen raising his right hand in disdain in the direction of referee Nick Buchert and the official quickly tossed him. Green walked off the court without further issues. It’s now Green’s 10th technical of the season and his second ejection. Rookie Jordan Bell started in place of Green in the second half and finished with 11 points.

Golden State doesn’t play again until Wednesday in Dallas.

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