SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA—Fresh off his dazzling return from injury, Stephen Curry leads the Golden State Warriors in their first game of the new year when they play deep in the heart of Texas Wednesday.
Eager to face Curry and company at home at the American Airlines Center in Dallas are the Mavericks—currently on a roll with an inspiring 116-113 conquest of the Oklahoma Thunder on the road Sunday.
The Warriors come in with the best record in the NBA at 29-8. Strange as it sounds the Mavericks are 13-25 but they have won four in a row, currently the longest streak going in the NBA.
Curry did not skip a beat at Oracle Arena in Oakland Saturday, propelling the defending champions to a 141-28 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.
He showed no lingering effects of a sprained right ankle that sidelined him for 11 games, scoring at will for 38 points on 13-for-17 shooting, including 10-for-13 from three-point range, in 26 minutes. His 10 three-pointers surpassed the previous NBA season high set by Portland guard Damian Lillard.
With the Grizzlies eyeing and pursuing him all over the hard court, Curry freed up teammates Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant both of whom did the heavy lifting in his absence. Thompson shot 21 points, Durant had 20.
Without Curry, the Warriors went 9-2 for a winning clip of 81.8, including a seven-game winning skein before Saturday.
Furthermore, going into the league’s 12th week, the Western Conference leaders—the darlings of the Bay Area’s multi-ethnic mix, including Filipino Americans—are tied with the Houston Rockets in points per game.
They lead all teams in field goal, three point and free throw percentages. They are also tops in assists and blocked shots.
Such basketball wizardry compels experts to tip the California Bay Area franchise as a tough team to dislodge from the NBA throne.
To coincide with Curry’s comeback over the weekend, the Warriors unveiled a new uniform—their fifth since the start of the season.
The just-introduced apparel honors the region’s Chinese heritage—a move that could ruffle feathers among Filipinos—the other predominant ethnic group in Warriors territory.
Pinoy-themed garb are worn by the Warriors in their pregame warmup on Filipino heritage nights at Oracle in early fall and spring. But they are yet to don alternate uniforms proclaiming a Pinoy connection during actual games.
The fresh apparel pays homage to the Bay Area’s “strong ties to Chinese-American history,” according to Warriors executives. They said the top five Asian population centers in America are in Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose and that Golden State “has emerged as China’s favorite team.”
The yellow version features Chinese characters depicting prosperity on the shorts. The shirts feature Chinese symbols over a likeness of the Golden Gate Bridge. The inscription “The Bay” appears over the chest logo.
The Warriors will wear their new Chinese Heritage uniforms during 10 play dates, beginning with a game against Minnesota on Jan. 25.