If Stephen Curry needed a performance to sway those wavering over who is NBA MVP of the 2014-15 season, Thursday’s 45-point 10-assist performance surely helped his case.
After breaking the single-season record for the most three-pointers made in a single season (272, set by Curry in 2012-13) in the second quarter, Curry surged for 19 fourth-quarter points to put away a Portland team that kept the game close up to the last two minutes of play.
Curry said he wasn’t necessarily trying to beat the record quickly, but was staying confident and having fun. He told SFBay after his first couple threes went in, he knew it was going to be no problem:
“When I made the first two it obviously helped the situation, so I was just gonna keep shooting. I knew about it, but tried not to think about it during the game cause obviously there’s bigger things going on…Thankfully I got the record out of the way in the first half that way I could kind of settle down and settle into the game.”
While Curry was unleashing from beyond the arc, Portland stayed very close with Robin Lopez and LaMarcus Aldridge scoring in the paint early and efficiently.
The Trail Blazers started the second quarter with a 11-0 run to take the lead, but the score was seemingly secondary to everyone in the arena who held their breath every time Curry touched the ball, knowing his next made three would break the record.
With 4:38 left in the second quarter Curry hit his 273rd three-pointer of the season breaking the NBA single-season record for threes made and less than a minute later tacked on another.
The Warriors down by as many as 13 in the second, Thompson was still struggling after hitting just 25-of-73 (34.2 percent) from the field through the last five games. But with less than three minutes in the frame, Thompson hit a trey of his own and followed it up on a tear for an 11-point quarter.
Thompson said, after struggling recently, he’s been too hard on himself and letting the mental part of the game affect how he impacts things on the court:
“Tonight felt great. Felt a lot better than missing shots. I just had a different level of focus tonight that I didn’t have the past few games. That’s on me. If I want to be a great player I can’t have let downs like that, mentally.”
Thompson’s offensive surge, sparked the Warriors to finish the second and start the third quarter with a 31-7 run that gave them a 11-point lead. But again, the Blazers were right there. With Damian Lillard and Aldridge leading the way, Portland cut the Warriors lead to one point in less than three minutes.
With two minutes remaining in the game, the score had gone back and forth and the Warriors only had a one-point advantage as Curry headed to the free throw line for the first time after Lillard fouled him from beyond the arc.
Curry hit all three from the charity stripe and then scored seven of the Warriors last nine points in a 12-2 run that gave the Warriors a 116-105 victory.
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr told SFBay that after watching Curry break the three-point record before going off in the final quarter, he had only one thought:
“I’m very thankful that he’s on my team.”
The Warriors, now 64-15, will finish the final three games of the season at home. Up next, Golden State hosts the 16-62 Timberwolves on Saturday.
The Warriors have won 20-straight home games against Western Conference opponents, a franchise-best streak. … The starting unit of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut improved to 47-7 this season, Golden State’s best starting lineup since the NBA began tracking starters in 1970-71. … Golden State scored at least 100 points for the 31st straight home game, the longest active such streak in the NBA. … Stephen Curry tallied 45 points, his second-largest scoring output this season and fifth-highest for his career, on 17-of-23 shooting, which is his highest career field goal percentage when taking at least 20 shots in a single game. Curry also dished out 10 assists for his first career 40-point/10-asssts game, becoming the first Warrior to post those number in a game since Baron Davis in 2005 and the first to go for 45 points and 10 assists since Latrell Sprewell in 1997.