NEW YORK -- The Brooklyn Nets played hard on Sunday night.
They just happened to run into the best basketball team -- and player -- on the planet.
Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson combined for 71 points, and the defending-champion Golden State Warriors stayed undefeated, soundly beating the Nets 114-98 in front of a sellout crowd at Barclays Center.
Curry, for whom at least half of the 17,732 in attendance appeared to be rooting, had 16 of his 28 points in the third quarter. He was in coast mode early before draining a 30-footer in the second quarter, then putting it into another gear late in the third.
The Warriors had seen a 17-point lead turn into a deficit of as many as five points. It was down to two points when Curry decided to take over, scoring 11 of his team’s final 13 points in the quarter as the Warriors took an 87-80 lead after three.
“That’s what great players do,” Nets coach Lionel Hollins said of Curry, the NBA’s reigning MVP and current leading scorer at 32.4 points per game. “Plus, he has a great team around him. He doesn’t have to go out there and do it all of the time. Last night, he had 44. Two nights ago in Charlotte, he had 40. When he needs to, he can, and when he doesn’t need to, he takes a back seat to those other guys.
“They got Klay Thompson [21 points] off early, some other guys were rolling [Green finished with 22 points, nine rebounds and seven assists], and then when [Curry] needed to, he stepped up and put the dagger in us. He’s a great player.”
The Warriors (22-0) have thrived by playing small and draining shots from beyond the arc. The Nets, on the other hand, have floundered as a result of their struggles from downtown, where they have shot a league-worst 29.6 percent.
So it came as no surprise that Golden State, the league’s best 3-point shooting team at 43.8 percent, outscored Brooklyn 42-15 in that category on Sunday.
And here’s your stat of the day: Curry has hit 116 3s this season -- 23 more than the entire Brooklyn team.
“We just need to attack and get better looks from ,” Nets point guard Jarrett Jack said. “You struggle so much getting penetration, we didn’t suck the defense in and give ourselves those opportunities for 3s.”
Brooklyn (5-15) has hit the quarter mark of the 2015-16 campaign on pace for about 20.5 wins, which has swingman Joe Johnson feeling very frustrated.
Asked how his team can turn its season around, Johnson, who is shooting a career-worst 35 percent from the field, replied: “I have no idea. I don’t have the answers. All I can do is suit up and try to go play hard every night. That’s it. ... It is what it is.”
Rookie standout Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (sprained right ankle) did not play on Sunday and was seen leaving the locker room after the game in a walking boot and sporting crutches. There is no update on his status.
Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov was in attendance, but he declined to comment on the state of his team after the game, saying, “Later, maybe.”
With that, Prokhorov made his exit.
But from a players’ perspective -- on a night when things went pretty much as expected -- Johnson’s short responses were telling.