STEPHEN Curry scored 42 points to lead the Golden State Warriors to a 129-105 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday in an NBA Finals rematch in name only.
Curry drained nine three-pointers and Kevin Durant added 25 points on nine of 16 shooting as the Warriors pulled away in the second half against a Cleveland team that bears little resemblance to the LeBron James-led Cavs that battled the Warriors in the last four championship series.
Curry, looking fully recovered in his third game back from a groin injury that sidelined him for 11 games, added nine rebounds and seven assists. Durant pulled down 10 rebounds and handed out nine assists.
The Warriors were back in Cleveland for the first time since June, when they beat the Cavs to win their second straight NBA title and third in four years.
Since then the Cavs have seen James depart as a free agent to the Los Angeles Lakers. Forward J.R. Smith was also absent from the team, Kevin Love was nursing a foot injury and Kyle Korver was recently traded to Utah.
Tristan Thompson, one of the only holdovers from the Cavaliers teams that challenged the Warriors – and beat them for the crown in 2016 – scored 14 points with 19 rebounds.
Rookie Collin Sexton led the Cavaliers with 21 points.
“It just felt quiet, from what we’re used to,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of the atmosphere in Cleveland. “For obvious reasons – it’s not the same out there.”
Despite Curry’s 25 first-half points, Cleveland led at the break, closing the half on a 19-5 scoring run.
“I thought they competed really hard,” Kerr said of the Cavaliers. “First half, they knocked down shots – they controlled the whole half. Our talent took over in the second half.”
The Warriors improved to 17-9 – still fourth in a Western Conference led by the Denver Nuggets, who edged the Orlando Magic 124-118 in overtime for a seventh straight victory that pushed their record to 17-7.
They finished the night half a game in front of the Oklahoma City Thunder, who erased a 23-point deficit with less than five minutes to play to beat the Brooklyn Nets 114-112.