SAN FRANCISCO — We’ve seen Steph Curry be loads of issues through the years: Transcendent. Inspirational. Petty. He’s shimmied, shuffled, put groups to sleep and pointed to his ring finger.
There’s one factor, nonetheless, that we not often get to see from Curry: A imply streak.
What he did to the Milwaukee Bucks in Saturday’s nationally televised matchup can solely be characterised as malicious … callous … even downright evil.
Curry had 17 factors with two minutes left within the fourth quarter, and his Golden State Warriors trailed by eight factors. When all was stated and achieved, Curry had tallied 36 factors, and the Warriors had come away with a 125-116 time beyond regulation victory. It was really the stuff of legend, even for a participant whose legend was already effectively over capability.
“Steph is fearless. It would not matter if there is a gradual begin or if he hasn’t had a lot going, he can ignite it at any time,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr stated after the win. “I assumed that comeback down the stretch — I feel we have been down eight with about two minutes left. Championship stuff. That’s the staff that has received 4 titles.”
Curry’s cold-blooded 3-pointer with 19 seconds left within the fourth quarter tied the sport, and he all however despatched the Bucks packing with a 29-foot pull-up with simply over two minutes left in time beyond regulation.
Curry, who usually celebrates with a childlike enthusiasm, refused to crack a smile after the dagger, as an alternative choosing a imply mug that impressed equal elements terror and respect.
After the sport, Curry stated the celebration was calculated, the gradual stroll to the bench permitting him to take full benefit of the three-minute timeout. He additionally stated he did not need to yell, in an effort to preserve power. But, when pressed, he admitted that the context of the sport did at the least considerably affect the menacing glare.
“Obviously there’s reactions to the sport and also you be ok with your self,” Curry stated. “There was a sure toughness and grit that we confirmed. That was the facial features.”
Curry had 20 of his 36 factors within the final two minutes of the fourth quarter and time beyond regulation, rendering much more laughable the all-too-recent, inaccurate narrative of him not performing in clutch conditions. He knew how badly the Warriors want each win in a sardine can of a Western Conference, and Curry made it his mission to win the sport.
The onslaught was much more spectacular since he did it towards two of the perfect on-ball defenders within the NBA, Jrue Holiday and Jevon Carter. Draymond Green, who is aware of slightly one thing about protection, remarked about Curry’s means to create and make pictures towards such bodily defenders.
“It was very spectacular the best way he willed us. He hit shot after shot,” Green stated. “And it wasn’t like many individuals have been creating for him. He was creating for himself and attending to the pictures that he needed.”
Curry’s will wasn’t unique to the offensive finish. On the Bucks’ remaining possession of regulation, Holiday blew previous Warriors defender Donte DiVincenzo and appeared to have a transparent path to the basket. That’s when Curry slid over into good place, swatting the shot away with what Green known as textbook verticality.
“I feel the most important play of the sport was the tip of regulation, Steph coming over,” DiVincenzo stated. “Jrue will get downhill, and Steph saves me. And he saves the sport.”
This would not be a Steph Curry story with out mentioning gravity. Once he will get going like he did within the remaining seven minutes of Saturday night time’s recreation, his means to bend the protection frees up his teammates. It simply so occurs that one in every of his teammates is arguably the perfect shooter on Earth not named Stephen Curry. Klay Thompson, who scored simply three factors in the whole fourth quarter, hit two enormous buckets in time beyond regulation due partly to the house freed up by Curry’s presence.
“Probably get out of his method, set a display for him, house the ground,” Thompson stated of his strategy when Curry goes on one in every of his unconscious heaters. “He’s gonna appeal to way more consideration. So you may get open appears to be like when you simply keep affected person and able to shoot.”
Curry confirmed his vicious facet final 12 months whereas devastating the Boston Celtics en path to profitable his first NBA Finals MVP. The power and depth he dropped at that collection was on show Saturday, and it’ll seemingly stay during the common season because the Warriors combat for playoff positioning.
The win over the Bucks moved Golden State into the No. 6 seed within the West, however they’re nonetheless simply 2.5 video games from falling out of the play-in altogether, with stout opponents just like the Nuggets, 76ers, Kings and Suns on the horizon. With the best way the Warriors have struggled on the street this season — their seven wins away from residence are the third-least in the whole NBA — Curry goes to must carry that postseason-level depth, and steely glare, till the Warriors head residence for the offseason.
Ultimately, even with Curry’s firepower and willpower, Golden State’s success goes to rely on their defensive effort.
“We defend, we give ourselves an opportunity to win,” Green stated. “You do not defend, and it is a crapshoot — you are making an attempt to outscore groups, and that do not work typically. I do not care how nice of scorers you bought.”