OAKLAND, Calif. -- Andre Iguodala is back, and not coincidentally, so are the Warriors.
After missing the previous 12 games with a left-hamstring strain, the versatile swingman returned to the lineup Tuesday night, and even though he personally showed some rust, the Warriors looked well-oiled in whipping the New Orleans Pelicans 104-93 at Oracle Arena.
The Warriors, who went 5-7 with Iguodala out, went wire-to-wire in upping their record to 14-12. They played upbeat and confident, buoyed by the return of Iguodala, who logged 17 minutes. He scored only two points--on a dunk--and didn't get a rebound, but he was his usual suffocating self on the defensive end.
It was a big night for a number of Warriors, most notably Stephen Curry, who recorded a league-best 11th straight game with 20 points or more by pouring in 28 and adding 12 assists. David Lee, meanwhile, was active at both ends, scoring 21 points with 17 rebounds.
Iguodala played the first 4:49 of the first quarter and didn't really do a whole lot before going to the bench, but he seemed to provide a calming influence to the Warriors as they shot out to a 16-6 lead against the undermanned Pelicans, who were playing without center Anthony Davis (left hand fracture) and guard Tyreke Evans (sprained left ankle).
New Orleans managed to hang around and actually got back to within 18-16 after a 10-2 run in the first quarter, but from there, the Warriors consistently built their lead throughout the rest of the half. The starters were not only in sync, so were the reserves. Golden State got 12 points from its bench in the first half, including seven points from Marreese Speights, who finished the game with 12.
But it was Curry and Lee doing most of the damage as the Warriors opened up an 18-point lead at half, 57-39. Curry had a tremendous opening two quarters, scoring 17 points on 8 of 13 shooting and also dished eight assists with just one turnover. Lee, meanwhile, posted a double-double first half with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Iguodala, who re-entered in the second quarter, played the final 7:05 of the half, finally got on the board with 1:44 left when he took a Curry feed and threw down a two-handed dunk.
The Warriors limited New Orleans to 34.8 percent shooting in the opening half (16 for 46) while shooting 54.2 percent themselves (26 for 48).
Iguodala played the first 5:29 of the third quarter, then called it a night as Golden State continued to pour it on and increased its lead to as many as 26, 87-61.
The Warriors tried to play the entire fourth quarter with a reserve unit, but when New Orleans chopped the lead to 13, 93-80, coach Mark Jackson called timeout and reinserted starters Curry, Lee, Klay Thompson and Andrew Bogut--everybody but Iguodala--and Golden State coolly finished off the easy win.
New Orleans, which fell to 11-12, was led by former Cal star Ryan Anderson with 21 points.
Before the game, Jackson was asked what Iguodala's return might mean to the Warriors' recent flagging fortunes.
"He makes us a better basketball team and puts another ballhandler out there," Jackson said. "He's a guy that can initiate the offense and another high IQ guy. He makes us better, but I'm not going to pretend he's an answer to all of our problems. We have to be better no matter what."
On this night, anyway, they were. The Warriors dominated in virtually every statistical category. They outrebounded the Pelicans 58-44 and had 50 points in the paint to New Orleans' 34.
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