“Sometimes Steph plays his best when we’re down big and he just senses that he has to put the Superman cape on,” said Steve Kerr. “And he’s so good at it. He’s so good at being down and saying, ‘I’m going to let it fly and I’m going to bring us back.'”
The commissioner was in town, the game was nationally televised, the Warriors came back from 22 down to beat one of the Western Conference’s better teams by 14. All that adds to it, but Stephen Curry dropped 51 points against Monta Ellis’ team. For those who’ve followed Curry’s career since he came to Golden State, that means so, so much. Curry scored 40+ points at Oracle for the very first time, and it came against the perfect opponent.
Curry is the league’s MVP through the season’s first half, and it took a trade — Ellis to the Milwaukee Bucks for an ailing Andrew Bogut — to allow Curry to flourish. Ellis is good enough for his exclusion from the All-Star team to be thought of as a “snub” by some, but Curry’s star keeps soaring. He garnered more All-Star votes than any other player, including LeBron James, and tonight he showed why.
Curry scored 51 on 26 shots, thanks to a 10-for-16 performance from three-point range and nine made free throws. He scored 26 points in the third quarter … on just 11 attempts from the field. Some of the shots he made almost seemed like optical illusions.
“He was making ridiculous shots,” Kerr said. There’s no defense for that.”
Stephen Curry & Klay Thompson are the first teammates to both score 50+ in a game in the same season since 1994-95
— GSWStats (@gswstats) February 5, 2015
— “I did not have our guys ready to play tonight,” Kerr said. “We let our guard down. That was partly my fault, I don’t think had us emotionally ready to play. But the last three quarters, we found it.”
— The Warriors are so dangerous because the have “the best backcourt in the league,” as Kerr described Curry and Thompson, along with the best defense in the NBA. Earlier in the day, Ethan Sherwood Strauss came up with a beautiful 11-step story that described the Warriors defense. Since the Warriors can score 12 points in 90 seconds and stop the other team from scoring for minutes at a time, no deficit is too great.
— This is the look of a man who wheeled and dealed throughout the offseason to put the Mavs back in contention for another title, only to realize all that work was probably in vain.
— Dirk Nowitzki (4-for-15, 15 points) was erased by Draymond Green.
— Mo Speights and Leandro Barbosa both had 14 points in 14 minutes off the bench, which isn’t really fair.
— Andre Iguodala made two enormous plays in the fourth quarter. When he was on the floor with Andrew Bogut, Draymond Green, Shaun Livingston and Leandro Barbosa, the offense was moving about as well as a golf course lake. Iguodala broke a 2:22 scoreless drought with a long three to push Golden State’s lead to 111-101. A few minutes later, with the Mavericks down five, Ellis tossed a lazy pass to the top of the key that Iguodala tipped to himself and took the other way for a dunk — the Warriors first points in almost three minutes.
— The Curry three I’ll remember most: with the Warriors up 76-73, Curry took the inbounds pass and swagged his way across halfcourt. Green set a high screen on Devin Harris, forcing Nowitzki to pick up Curry at the top of the key. Curry dribbled twice to his left, planted HARD in front of Dirk, stepped back and rained in a three that soared higher than the top of the shot clock. Thompson, who was standing in the corner on the play, never even thought about the possibility that an offensive rebound might come his way. He started walking slowly toward the defensive end once the ball left Curry’s hands.