He. Is. Back.
That’s all that needs to be said. Insert Stephen Curry “I’m back” gif and call it a day.
All Curry did was take a month off, then casually return Saturday and drop 38 points with 10 3’s in just 26 minutes to lead the Warriors to a 141-128 win against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Steve Kerr was almost speechless when talking about Curry’s performance:
“What can you say when a guy goes 10-for-13 after not playing in an NBA game for what a month? And even the other team went 15-of-21 even they were hot just because Steph was in the building. Steph makes everybody shoot better I think, it’s crazy.”
It was his night from the start. You could feel the energy in the building and on the court was different than the last month. And everyone embraced it.
Kevin Durant, who put up godly numbers without Curry, took just 12 shots, deferring to the returning MVP-though he did still finish with 20 points and nine assists.
Durant was left in awe of Curry’s performance after the game:
“That was phenomenal, I guess my prediction was right, it was only going to take a quarter. It didn’t even take a quarter, less than that. But glad that he got it going because we definitely needed that spark.”
Draymond Green also made sure it was the Curry show by kindly getting himself ejected three minutes into the second quarter. Green got whistled for two quick techs in a span of less than a minute and got his New Year’s plans started early.
But that didn’t stop the momentum of Curry’s return as the Warriors led 40-38 at the end of one, tying for the most combined points scored in a first quarter this year.
Curry said he didn’t know how he was going to do this first game back:
“I didn’t know what to expect, just wanted to get some good reps, get up and down and see how my wind was. And surprisingly, I know I shot it well, but my body felt way better than I expected.”
They ended the half with 78, which tied their season high for points in a half. The Warriors also lasered in 11 3’s before halftime, which tied the most 3’s the Warriors made in a game without Curry in the lineup.
The last time they made more than 11 3’s? The very game in which Curry got hurt, Dec. 4 against the Pelicans. Golden State would finish with 18 3’s on 54 percent from beyond the arc.
The 141 points they hung on Memphis was also the most points the Grizzlies have ever allowed in franchise history.
Kerr said Curry just brings a different feel and energy to a game:
“You could hear the building. Everything just looks better, the food in there is going to taste better, my wife is going to be even better looking then she already is, my kids are going to be happy. Steph just has that impact, it’s the way it is. He’s a franchise player for a reason and it goes on and off the court, and what he does for this franchise is crazy.”
With Curry on the court, the Warriors got back to getting easy looks for everyone else and scored with ease, as opposed to their struggles the last few contests. Over their last six games, the Warriors were averaging 102.6 points per game — they got there Saturday night with four minutes left in the third quarter.
And then his night ended after embarrassing Marc Gasol and hitting his 10th 3.
Steph didn't have to do Gasol like that 😅 pic.twitter.com/q21J5VgB0O
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 31, 2017
Curry’s return overshadowed what may have been the best game of Zaza Pachulia’s Warriors career. He finished with 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists on a perfect 6-of-6 from the field and 5-of-5 from the line.
Kerr was more than pleased with his starting center:
“It’s just too bad Steph stole his night. That’s Zaza’s lot in life, he’s just Zaza. But we like our Zaza.”
And those stats may show Curry’s biggest value–with him on the court, he can turn even Pachulia into an All-Star.
After his first game back, Curry and the Warriors get the New Year’s to rest up, as they don’t take the court again until Wednesday when they travel to Texas to take on the Dallas Mavericks.
With their win the Warriors (29-8) have a .812 winning percentage for the calendar year of 2017, the second highest-winning percentage in a given year in franchise history. … Draymond Green now leads the NBA in technical fouls with 10 total, and is just six away from drawing an inevitable one-game suspension.