Stephen Curry, Warriors Beat Nets Despite Kyrie Irving Dropping 32 Points

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 30, 2022

Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins (22) shoots a 3-point basket over Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

The Golden State Warriors defeated the visiting Brooklyn Nets 110-106 on Saturday at San Francisco's Chase Center.

Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins starred everywhere, finishing with 24 points, eight rebounds, three steals and three blocks. He had 14 first-quarter points to give the Warriors a 31-20 edge after one.

Golden State later opened up a 19-point second-half lead, but that disappeared after a furious Nets comeback that included a 30-8 run to give Brooklyn an 81-78 edge early in the fourth quarter.

However, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson put the Warriors back on top after they scored Golden State's final 17 points. They got hot late after combining to shoot just 4-of-23 through the first three quarters.

Still, the Nets never went away and cut the Warriors' lead to 107-106 after guard Kyrie Irving hit a three with 10 seconds left.

But Irving was called for a questionable away-from-play personal foul before the Warriors inbounded the ball on their next possession. The Nets chose against challenging.

The foul led to a made Curry free throw plus a Warriors' possession, which led to two more Thompson free throws for a 110-106 edge with 5.7 seconds remaining.

Warriors guard Gary Payton II got a steal on the Nets' final possession to end the game.

Curry shot just 5-of-18 from the field but added 19 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and three steals. Jordan Poole scored 17 off the bench, and Otto Porter Jr. and Thompson each had 16.

Brooklyn played without Kevin Durant (MCL sprain, left knee) and James Harden (right hand strain). The Nets also lost LaMarcus Aldridge after he played 15 minutes (left ankle sprain).

Irving, who cannot play home games at Brooklyn's Barclays Center because he is unvaccinated against COVID-19, did return to the lineup after the Nets' two-game homestand.

Despite San Francisco having rules requiring the Warriors and fans attending games at Chase Center to be vaccinated against COVID-19, the same rule does not apply to visiting players, creating a loophole for Irving to play.

Irving led all scorers with 32 points, and Patty Mills chipped in 24.

The 37-13 Warriors have won five in a row. The 29-20 Nets have lost four straight.


Notable Performances

Nets G Kyrie Irving: 32 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals

Nets G Patty Mills: 24 points

Nets C Nic Claxton: 9 points, 8 rebounds

Warriors F Andrew Wiggins: 24 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals, 3 blocks

Warriors G Stephen Curry: 19 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds, 3 steals

Warriors G Klay Thompson: 16 points, 6 rebounds


Wiggins Early; Curry and Thompson Late Good Enough for Win

First-time All-Star starter Andrew Wiggins was the best player on the court Saturday, doing it all for a team that sorely needed his production with Curry and Thompson going through off-shooting nights.

Wiggins exploded in the first quarter for 14 points, six rebounds, two steals and two blocks to give Golden State an early 11-point lead.

He was aggressive early, driving by Irving for a layup midway through the first quarter:

Golden State Warriors @warriors

2⃣2⃣ with the rack attack<br><br>📺 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBAonABC?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBAonABC</a> <a href="https://t.co/eIkXCykAq0">pic.twitter.com/eIkXCykAq0</a>


Wiggins did more work in the paint with this putback dunk to close the first quarter scoring:

Golden State Warriors @warriors

Flight 2⃣2⃣ <a href="https://t.co/7dD2Wg7wAU">pic.twitter.com/7dD2Wg7wAU</a>

In the second quarter, Wiggins hit a stepback three over Irving for 17 halftime points:


Andrew Wiggins drains a tough step back triple for the <a href="https://twitter.com/warriors?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@warriors</a> <br><br>He has 17 points on ABC! <a href="https://t.co/VUo4zKLcwd">pic.twitter.com/VUo4zKLcwd</a>

Wiggins cooled down a bit in the second half, but Curry and Thompson rounded back into form in the fourth to put this one away.

They scored all the Warriors' points after the Nets tied this one at 93 in the fourth.

Curry got it going with a stepback three to give the Nets a 96-93 lead it never relinquished:

Golden State Warriors @warriors

Toughhhhh.<br><br>📺 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBAonABC?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBAonABC</a> <a href="https://t.co/fpyhbCRQW9">pic.twitter.com/fpyhbCRQW9</a>

A pair of Thompson jumpers plus four Curry free throws pushed the lead to 104-99 before the Nets hit four from the charity stripe on their own.

That gave Golden State the ball with half a minute left, and the Warriors answered when Thompson flushed a three off a Curry feed:

Golden State Warriors @warriors

Klay in the CLUTCH <a href="https://t.co/Xdrbt5A9fW">pic.twitter.com/Xdrbt5A9fW</a>

Irving responded with his own three, but the Warriors closed the game on the free-throw line for the win. Overall, it was a good team victory for the Dubs, who continued to stay hot as the All-Star break approaches.


Shorthanded Nets' Furious 2nd-Half Rally Falls Short

This game appeared to be all but over when the Warriors took a 72-53 lead in the third quarter. Golden State's offense was clicking despite Curry and Thompson slumping, and the Nets' scoring attack didn't have much of an answer against the Warriors' tough defense.

The resilient Nets hung tough, though, and nearly stole a win in San Francisco.

Irving served as the comeback catalyst, scoring 14 third-quarter points to cut the Warrior lead to two entering the fourth.

KAI had the ball on a string late in the third before hoisting a long-distance jumper over Porter:

Brooklyn Nets @BrooklynNets

Kyrie's moves 😍 <a href="https://t.co/WqXw0fYySg">pic.twitter.com/WqXw0fYySg</a>

Irving also hit a huge three despite being fouled amid the Nets' aforementioned 30-8 run.

Brooklyn Nets @BrooklynNets

KAI playing with 🔥 <a href="https://t.co/6UrbUwRvgY">pic.twitter.com/6UrbUwRvgY</a>

In the fourth, the Nets kept going blow-for-blow with the Warriors, with Patty Mills hitting this big three from the wing to tie the game at 84:

Brooklyn Nets @BrooklynNets

Strong vibes <a href="https://t.co/V0GQ4ELyfC">pic.twitter.com/V0GQ4ELyfC</a>

Mills made another huge play later in the quarter, stealing the ball and finding James Johnson for a layup and a 93-all tie:

Brooklyn Nets @BrooklynNets

No quit <a href="https://t.co/EjBgxBhn9u">pic.twitter.com/EjBgxBhn9u</a>

Curry and Thompson's resurgence gave the Warriors a late four-point lead, but Irving wasn't done yet as he hit this three to slash the edge to 107-106:

Brooklyn Nets @BrooklynNets

KAI 😱 <a href="https://t.co/ySRfSbMAVt">pic.twitter.com/ySRfSbMAVt</a>

At that point, the Nets needed to go for a steal or attempt to play the foul game with the shot clock turned off. That's when Irving got hit with a questionable foul.

Nets head coach Steve Nash explained why he did not challenge postgame:

Nets Videos @SNYNets

Steve Nash said "a little bird" told him not to challenge the away from the play foul on Kyrie Irving, and instead opted to preserve the Nets' last timeout <a href="https://t.co/b4AaBRYCXF">pic.twitter.com/b4AaBRYCXF</a>

Nick Friedell @NickFriedell

Nash said he was told by the officials that it was absolutely a foul by Kyrie on Klay at the end. That is why he chose not to challenge the play.

What's Next?

The Warriors will visit the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center on Monday at 8 p.m. ET. The Nets will continue their five-game Western Conference road swing with a Tuesday matchup against the NBA-leading Phoenix Suns at 10 p.m. ET in Footprint Center.