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The Golden State Warriors’ 3-point-shooting prowess will be tested by one of the big guns from the East when they host the Orlando Magic on Monday night in Oakland, Calif.
The Warriors bombed in 14 of their 27 3-point attempts while dispatching of the Philadelphia 76ers 135-114 on Saturday night for their sixth straight win.
Golden State, which leads the NBA in 3-point field goal percentage (41.6), has made at least 10 3s in all 13 of their games. They rank second to Houston in average made 3-pointers per game at 13.8.
The Warriors didn’t skip a beat in their perimeter shooting when Kevin Durant sat out Wednesday’s 125-101 home romp over Minnesota with a bruised quad.
Now they find themselves dealing with a similar injury issue as they attempt to complete a perfect four-game homestand.
Stephen Curry helped keep the Timberwolves at bay with two 3-pointers and 22 points, but he left Saturday’s win limping and is questionable for Monday’s game.
“It was a bruised quad, same thing that KD had two games ago, just a knee to the thigh,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr reported. “Pretty painful.”
With or without Curry, the Warriors will see a Magic team that’s one of the most dramatically changed offensive clubs in NBA history.
Orlando ranked among the worst teams in the NBA in 3-point shooting last season, both in terms of made 3s (8.5 per game, 25th in the league) and percentage (32.8, 29th in the league).
But getting significant improvement from multiple sources, the Magic will enter Monday’s game second to Golden State in 3-point shooting percentage (40.6) and third to Houston and the Warriors in 3s made per game (11.9).
On the second stop in a four-game trip, Orlando got outgunned from beyond the arc for one of the few times this season when it made only 11 of 31 in a 125-107 loss at Denver on Saturday night.
The Magic had won its previous two games, including a trip-opening, 128-112 victory at Phoenix on Friday in which it buried 13 3-pointers.
The biggest weapon in Orlando’s offensive transformation has been forward Aaron Gordon, who returns to his native San Francisco Bay Area no longer known as just a slam-dunk standout.
Never having made even 30 percent of his 3-pointers in each of his first three NBA seasons, Gordon currently leads the NBA with a 55.3 percentage from behind the arc.
“People never saw me as a shooter,” Gordon said. “It’s going to take some time to shift the paradigm, but I don’t really care about that, man. I’m just playing a game. I feel comfortable out there. I feel capable of scoring from anywhere. It feels good.”
Orlando’s most productive perimeter shooter in Saturday’s loss was Marreese Speights, who honed his 3-point-shooting skills as a three-year member of the Warriors.
After having attempted just 30 3-pointers in five seasons to begin his career, Speights became a fan favorite with Golden State by making 37 of 111 from beyond the arc in his three seasons in Oakland, one of which culminated in the Warriors’ first of two recent championships in 2015.
Speights had a season-best 19 points, making three 3-pointers, in Saturday’s loss at Denver.