The Golden State Warriors appear to be back on track following an impressive victory over a division leader and a road win in a span of two nights.
Now they'll try to avenge a December loss against the visiting Charlotte Bobcats, who could find knocking off Golden State a second time to be difficult if Kemba Walker remains sidelined Tuesday night.
The Warriors (29-19) put together a 10-game winning streak Dec. 21-Jan. 7, marking their longest in more than 30 years. However, they went on to drop six of their next nine with the losses coming by an average of 4.8 points.
But Golden State was physically dominant in a 111-92 victory over the Pacific-leading Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday, outrebounding them 53-34 and outscoring them 66-22 in the paint. Stephen Curry's season-high 44 points lifted the Warriors to a 95-90 win at Utah on Friday despite the team's 37.5 shooting percentage.
Curry, named an All-Star for the first time last week, matched Utah with 13 points over the final 8:14 to help dig Golden State out of a nine-point deficit. He hit eight 3-pointers and is averaging 31.1 points over his last eight contests while going 36 of 72 from beyond the arc.
Curry's performance was even more vital with backcourt mate Klay Thompson going 3 of 20 from the field with 11 points. Andrew Bogut tallied 16 points and 17 rebounds to help replace the lost production of David Lee, who sat out due to a sprained shoulder. It's not clear whether Lee will play Tuesday.
"This was a huge game for us, and we were dealing with fatigue, and playing without D-Lee so for us to overcome a second-half deficit like that and find a way to get it done," Curry said, "... we knew a win tonight would validate last night's win and get us over the hump and get some momentum going."
Curry's previous season high was 43 in a 115-111 loss in Charlotte on Dec. 9. He wasn't at his best from the field, going 14 of 32 and 5 of 16 from deep. Golden State was 11 of 37 from beyond the arc as a team. Curry is averaging 27.9 points in seven career games versus Charlotte and had been 26 of 42 on 3-pointers prior to the last meeting.
Walker scored 31 in the first meeting, including six points from the free-throw line in the final 25 seconds, but has missed Charlotte's last seven games due to a sprained left ankle. He reportedly practiced Monday and is questionable for this game.
The Bobcats (21-28) will be closing a four-game trip following a 105-95 loss at Phoenix on Saturday. They outscored the Suns 32-15 in the fourth but had already dug themselves too large a hole with a 6:41 scoreless stretch bridging the second and third quarters.
Al Jefferson shot 4 of 15 with 10 points and six rebounds after averaging 35.7 points and 14.0 boards over his previous three contests. Charlotte was outscored 48-26 in the paint.
"You can't have many nights like that. We just didn't try," coach Steve Clifford said. "We had no effort to start the game. If you are not ready to play or defend then you have no chance. The guys who came off the bench were worse than the starters."