Oracle Arena is known around the NBA universe for its raucous environment, and the volume it reaches. But there’s just something different about the noise that emanates when Stephen Curry catches fire.
Those sound waves reached new heights Wednesday when Curry effortlessly poured in 51 points leading the Warriors (5-1) to a dominating 144-122 victory over the Washington Wizards (1-3).
Curry’s dominance started from the opening frame as his only misses in the first were two wide open layups and a tough 3-pointer to end the quarter.
This night was a little different for Curry even though he’s had these type of games before:
“It’s weird because I couldn’t miss from 3 but I missed two of the easiest layups I’ve ever had in the NBA before. So you’re partly frustrated like what could have been, four or six more points. But at the end of the day, it’s just one of those nights you have so much fun playing the game.”
The final damage in the first quarter for Curry: 23 points, 8-of-11 shooting, 5-of-6 from 3, finished off by scoring 16 points in the last three minutes and 30 seconds.
Steve Kerr said it was a sight to watch what Curry was doing:
“I don’t even know how to describe what I witnessed tonight. Amazing, video game stuff. … Some of the shooting was just mind-boggling. Nobody’s ever done what he’s doing. … You got a guy taking 40-footers and you’re on the sidelines going ‘yeah, that’s a good shot.’ Explain that, we’ve never seen this before.”
Curry jokingly refuted his head coach’s claim:
“He’s lying. I had to make 10 of them before he would be alright with that.”
But he wasn’t done as he tortured John Wall and the Wizards defense by going for another 20 points in the third quarter. His final line: a mythical 15-for-24 from the field and 11-of-16 from the 3-point line — as a team, Washington made just 12 3’s on 42 attempts.
Kevin Durant said that it was fun to just be a spectator for Curry’s night:
“When you got it cooking that way, coach and the rest of the team, we’re just there to support him at that point. … Screen for him, throw him the rock, and just tell him to go ahead and be creative. And he’s a pure artist.”
If Curry returning to his unanimous MVP ways wasn’t enough to worry rest of the league, the other Warriors’ looked back to themselves as well.
Draymond Green was back to being a lead distributor, racking up 12 assists and even hitting a 3. And Klay Thompson‘s jumper looks to be almost all the way back, although he’s still struggling from deep.
Add in Durant, who had his best game of the season, and put on his own impressive shooting display with 30 points, eight assists and eight rebounds on 13-of-19 from the field. But it’s just a different feel when number 30 has it going.
Curry made sure to mention his teammates post game:
“What KD did tonight in terms of his efficiency was crazy and on the back-end, too. Klay’s finding his shot. That’s kind of the beauty of our team, we have fun doing what we do, everybody loves when everyone else is successful and we just love playing basketball.”
Curry has scored over 50 points now just six times in his career. An amazingly low total just based on the number of times he’s had explosive runs and crushed souls.
He’s actually scored over 30 points in a single half nine different times, but only a little over half of those times has translated into what you would think would be an inevitability.
Part of that, may have to do with the fact that his outbursts often translate into lopsided Warrior victories that sees Curry become a spectator in the fourth quarter, as he did Wednesday night.
It is also a testament to Curry as a transcendent teammate, his ability and willingness to allow himself to play the role of decoy and give his teammates some time to shine.
Kerr said the joy he plays with is infectious:
“Steph has a joy about him that everyone in the building can see and feel. So he brings that and you talk about wanting people to have a balanced life, and how powerful that can be, I think he’s a prime example of that.”
But it’s also become an exasperating tradition for Warriors fans — as the Warriors seemed to actively ignore Curry at times.
After that eruption in the first, Thompson actually led the team in shots in the second quarter with seven, then Durant with six, then Curry with three, just one more than Shaun Livingston and Jordan Bell.
It could be tough for those who wish Curry would go all out and put up 70 to really silence his critics.
But that’s not who he is, and that’s what makes this team so dangerous. Individual accolades are cool, but it’s his teammate’s success that really gets him going.
And a night like this is the best of both worlds for him.
He gets to remind everyone who the best point guard in the league is, while simultaneously using that gravity to get Durant and Thompson going. And it what could lead him to his third MVP — but more importantly for him, another title.
A trip to the basketball Mecca awaits the Warriors next, as they kick off their three-game road trip in Madison Square Garden against the Knicks Friday.
This was Curry’s 10th game with double-digit 3’s. That’s the most in NBA history, while all other players have seven such games combined. … Curry now has 33 made 3’s this season, which is more than four teams: the Pelicans, Clippers, Cavaliers and Thunder.