OAKLAND -- Andre Iguodala is back, and not coincidentally, so are the Warriors.
After missing the previous 12 games because of 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 without Iguodala, went wire-to-wire in improving 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 -- had two assists and didn't get a rebound, but as usual, he just seemed to make everybody better.
"It felt good -- I got tired of watching," Iguodala said. "You get a little appreciation for the game, especially when you see your brothers struggle. I felt tonight was a great game by everyone just to get a win and put together a string of good basketball the way we did the first three quarters."
Indeed, 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.
Everybody simply seemed buoyed by having Iguodala back on the floor.
"We lost some games we should have won when he was out, and that helps you understand how important he is for our team," Curry said. "We need to be healthy and have a solid roster that Coach can utilize night in and night out, and hopefully we can reach our full potential as a team."
Iguodala said he still has some limitations physically, primarily moving side to side while defending.
"I was a little hesitant on the smaller guys," he said. "I think I had two drive-bys that I can remember. So that's something to work on. But we'll be cautious."
Coach Mark Jackson tried to play Iguodala at approximate five-minute stints -- 4:49 to start in the first quarter, the final 7:05 of the half, then another 5:29 in the third quarter. With the Warriors up by as many as 26 in the late third period, he sat out the fourth.
But even in limited minutes and with low statistical impact, Jackson said he saw a big difference with Iguodala on the floor.
"He's a guy that makes it so much easier with his ability to make plays, read and react," Jackson said. "We missed him, and we are glad to have him back. It was also a carry-over effect, because other guys began to read, react and make plays, so it was a big-time win for us."
Nobody was reading and reacting more than Curry and Lee, and the coach was particularly effusive about Lee.
"David looked the best he's looked all year -- active, aggressive, defending, running the floor, rebounding," Jackson said. "When he plays that way, we're a totally different basketball team. It was good to see."
Lee said he felt being more aggressive on the boards served as an offensive trigger.
"My activity level can usually be judged by how I'm rebounding at both ends," he said. "I got some rebounds early, got some good looks at the basket and made shots I'd been missing lately."
Without a doubt, the Warriors were a totally transformed team. Their 58 rebounds were a season high. They had just 12 turnovers (and Curry just three). Defensively, they were much more focused and effective, although the competition might have had something to do with it. The Pelicans (11-12) were playing without center Anthony Davis (left hand fracture) and guard Tyreke Evans (sprained left ankle).
New Orleans got 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 and into the third quarter. The starters were not only in sync, so were the reserves, at least until the fourth quarter. Golden State got 12 points from Marreese Speights, who may be finally taking his game up a notch.
But it was Curry and Lee doing most of the damage as the Warriors opened up an 18-point lead at halftime, 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 got on the board with 1:44 left in the first half when he took a Curry feed and threw down a two-handed dunk.
New Orleans was led by former Cal star Ryan Anderson with 21 points.
San Antonio (19-5) at Warriors (14-12), 7:30 p.m. CSNBA, TNT