USA TODAY US Edition
WARRIORS WRECKING RECORDS
Golden State continues to dominate with sizzling performances from Stephen Curry
As if the latest episode of the Stephen Curry show wasn’t entertaining enough, the 46-point outing against the Oklahoma City Thunder in which he heaved a game-winner from 32 feet in overtime to give his Golden State Warriors a historic 53-5 record, the social media saga that it sparked among his fellow NBA royalty was almost as enjoyable.
LeBron James paid his respects to Curry, who is well on his way to a second consecutive MVP award, tweeting that we’d “never before seen someone like him in the history of ball!” Former point guard Baron Davis, who had taken notice recently when Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson blamed poor coaching and defense for Curry’s dominance, tweeted “Big O .... That’s enuff.. We love u but... U need to order the League Pass... #apologize2datman.”
Phil Jackson, who once was among the critics questioning the sustainability of this long-range movement led by Curry, cited a curious comparison in his attempt to offer perspective.
“Never seen anything like SCurry?” the New York Knicks president tweeted. “Remind you of Chris Jackson/ Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, who had a short but brilliant run in NBA?” In a word, Phil, no. Take the mic, Warriors coach Steve Kerr. Please.
“What’s the expression?” Kerr said after Curry’s latest performance Saturday. “From the ridiculous to the sublime? That’s where we are at this point.”
“What’s the expression? From the ridiculous to the sublime? That’s where we are at this point.” Warriors coach Steve Kerr
It’s beautiful basketball, the kind that has set the stage for what could be a special finish.
The Warriors remain on pace to have the best regular-season record of all time, with the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls the standard-bearers with their 72-10 mark. In terms of handicapping their chances, the Warriors’ schedule in the final 24 games is a mixed bag in terms of key factors.
There are built-in advantages, such as the fact that 17 of those matchups come at Oracle Arena, where they haven’t lost a regularseason game since Jan. 27, 2015. That’s 42 in a row at home, two shy of the NBA record that was set by those Bulls.
There will be challenges, as seven of those games come against the best of the West: They play the San Antonio Spurs (50-9) three times (March 17 and April 10 at AT&T Center and April 7 at home), the Thunder once (at home Thursday), the Los Angeles Clippers once (at home March 23) and the Memphis Grizzlies twice (April 9 on the road and April 13 at home).
What’s more, they have two games remaining against a Portland Trail Blazers team that not only beat the Warriors handily Feb. 19 (137-105) but also has the league’s fourth-best winning percentage since Jan. 10 (.800, having won 16 of their last 20). Portland plays at Oracle Arena on March 11 and April 3.
Curry repeating as MVP is seeming more like a foregone conclusion by the day, but there might be even more history: He could be the NBA’s first unanimous winner. If that happens, it would be because of his secondhalf surge.
According to NBA.com/stats, Curry is averaging 32.9 points, 7.1 assists, 5.3 rebounds and two steals per game since Jan. 9. His shooting during that stretch? An overall mark of 52.3%, a staggering 50.2% from beyond the arc (on 11.8 attempts per game) and 91.3% from the free throw line.
Despite the fact that nearly 30% of the regular-season schedule remains, Curry has set a season record for made threepointers — again.
Curry has made 288 threepointers, besting his league-record mark of 286 set last season and putting him on pace to finish with a whopping 407. Curry has the top three season marks of all time in that category and four of the top six. Ray Allen’s 269 for the Seattle Super Sonics in 2005-06 is the fourth-best mark all time, and Dennis Scott’s 267 for the Orlando Magic in 1995-96 is fifth.
By any measure, the Warriors are on the fast track toward becoming one of the greatest teams of all time. The numbers, more than anything or anyone else, speak for themselves.