By JANIE McCAULEY, AP Sports Writer
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Golden State Warriors delivered one of those high-flying third quarters that were a signature last season.
Stephen Curry capped it with a rare but dazzling block.
“We’ll have to start calling him a rim protector now,” Kevin Durant quipped.
Klay Thompson scored 27 points, Durant added 22 points, six rebounds and six assists, and the Warriors pulled away after halftime to run their winning streak to eight games with a 117-101 win against the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night.
Curry overcame a slow start to score 19 points, and the Warriors used a 34-15 third quarter to pull away. That marked a season-low scoring total for any quarter by the Grizzlies.
At 10-1, the Warriors are off to the second-best start in franchise history behind the team of three years ago that began 24-0. The 1960-61 Philadelphia Warriors were 9-0 before losing four straight.
Thompson’s contested 3 moments before the halftime buzzer sent the teams into intermission tied at 58, then the Warriors took off the way they do resemblant of their signature third quarters last season.
“I think the second half we picked the pace up, got out in transition and that opens up the floor for everybody,” Thompson said.
Curry’s 3-pointer with 3:14 left in the third put the Warriors up by 10, 81-71, before Durant followed with back-to-back jumpers. Curry swatted a shot by Wayne Selden to end the third, sending the two-time defending champions into a frenzy.
“That was impressive,” coach Steve Kerr said. “I was hoping for the (Dikembe) Mutombo finger wag. Didn’t quite get it.”
Curry shot 1 of 7 in the opening quarter with a single 3 accounting for his point total.
Draymond Green was limited to just fewer than 14 minutes because of a bruised right foot.
X-rays were negative, Kerr said.
Dillon Brooks came off the bench to score 11 of his 18 points in the first quarter to help the Grizzlies take a 31-29 lead. Jaren Jackson Jr. and Shelvin Mack scored 15 apiece for Memphis.
Marc Gasol had eight points with just a pair of field goals to go with 10 rebounds and nine assists for Memphis in its first set of 13 back-to-backs this season.
Alfonzo McKinnie scored 14 points off the bench for the Warriors, who have won 13 of the last 17 meetings with Memphis and four straight at home.
“It’s a snowball effect of things,” Memphis guard Mike Conley said. “When they get a couple good looks, a couple easy shots to fall, it’s contagious and everybody else kind of feeds off it.”
Grizzlies: Memphis shot 45.8 percent. The Grizzlies came into the game shooting 53 percent at home to just 40.2 away, but had gone 49 percent from the floor in two games to begin this current road trip at Utah and Phoenix. … F Ivan Rabb scored four points over nine minutes in his return home to the East Bay where he attended Bishop O’Dowd High and the University of California. … The Grizzlies have committed fewer turnovers than opponents in each of their initial nine games. … Memphis last won at Oracle 128-119 in overtime on Jan. 6, 2017.
Warriors: Curry had his fourth block of the season and No. 133 of his career. … G Shaun Livingston missed his fifth straight game and seventh in the last nine with a sore right foot, while fellow key reserve Andre Iguodala was out for rest. … Coming off a game they outrebounded the Timberwolves 61-39, Golden State held another lopsided advantage on the glass: 46-30.
Omri Casspi missed the game against his old team because of a sore right knee but received his championship ring from Warriors general manager Bob Myers during a pregame ceremony for his contributions with the two-time defending champions during the regular season. He wasn’t on the playoff roster.
“I’m really thankful for the class act by the Warriors,” Casspi said. “We all know how grateful I am for that. I’m happy to be a part of that, I’m happy to be a part of the team that won the championship. Obviously I missed the playoffs. I wanted to be there so bad. It’s natural.”
Even though he was waived by Golden State ahead of the start of the postseason to make roster room for guard Quinn Cook, Casspi played a key role and the Warriors honored him with a video tribute.
“Just difficult circumstances that led to all of that, but he was very professional the way he handled it and he played very well for us in the regular season when he was healthy,” Kerr said.
He appeared in 53 games with seven starts averaging 14 minutes during his one season with the Warriors.
Grizzlies coach J.B. Bickerstaff credited Golden State for the thoughtful gesture.
“Hats off to this organization and the class that they walk with,” he said.
Grizzlies: Host Nuggets on Wednesday.
Warriors: Host Bucks on Thursday.
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