Three days into the NBA season and Stephen Curry is already doing Stephen Curry things.
The 33-year-old guard set Chase Center ablaze on Thursday night, scoring 45 points in the Golden State Warriors‘ 115-113 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers. The majority of his points came via the three-ball, nothing new for the soon-to-be all-time leader in threes. But Curry’s performance, especially when held up to another legendary marksman in Reggie Miller, displays how much the art of long-range shooting has changed.
Stephen Curry put on a shooting clinic against the Clippers
Curry was admittedly off of his game during Golden State’s opening night victory against the Los Angeles Lakers. The two-time MVP scored 21 points and recorded a triple-double, but went a paltry 5-for-21 from the field and 2-for-8 from deep. However, it was a different story against LA’s other team.
In his home debut, Steph scored 25 points … in the first quarter. The 6-foot-3 guard buried all nine of his shot attempts, five of which were threes. He then saved his best for last, hitting a pair of threes including the eventual game-winner with just under a minute to go. Curry wound up 16-for-25 from the field and 8-for-13 from three in his 45-point masterpiece. Dating back to last season, the Baby-Faced Assassin has scored 45 or more three times in his last six regular-season contests.
“Steph Curry was just Steph Curry, there’s never been anybody like him,” coach Steve Kerr said. “Those last two threes were ridiculous. … I’m still blown away.”
“I don’t know if I’ve had a perfect start like that before,” Curry also added. “But it was just a good flow from the jump.”
A wild comparison between Steph Curry and Reggie Miller
Curry has 2,842 three-pointers, placing him comfortably second on the all-time list and within striking distance of Ray Allen‘s 2,973. Immediately behind Steph lies Miller, who at 2,560 is one of the greatest three-point shooters of all time.
While almost 300 three-pointers separate Curry from Miller, one particular stat shows the gap between them. After Thursday’s game against LA, Steph has 62 games with eight or more three-pointers. Miller — the owner of more threes than all but two players in NBA history — has two.
“When it’s all said and done, I’ll look back and there will be moments that’ll pop off,” Curry responded. “Obviously championships and all the other things. [Passing you] will be a moment that I will remember vividly just because of how much it meant. Shooter to shooter.”
Stephen Curry is the face of the three-point revolution
Despite being two and three on the all-time threes list, Curry has 60 more games with eight or more triples than Miller. But as Kenny Smith pointed out on Inside the NBA, things were very different back in the day.
“When [Reggie] came into the league, we were the same class, 1987,” Smith said. “The average team took five threes. And then today, the average team takes 34 threes. So imagine Reggie Miller taking nine to 10 threes a game.”
Smith’s point is something all basketball fans over the years have realized. Players and teams take an astronomical amount of threes compared to Miller’s era. 12 of the top-30 three-point shooters of all time are still active, while 21 have taken an NBA court in the last five years. Some of those names include J.R. Smith, Wesley Matthews, and Eric Gordon.
Additionally, there have been many players with more than Miller’s two games of eight or more threes. Trae Young already has five entering his fourth season, while unspectacular veterans Tim Hardaway Jr. and Davis Bertans both have four.
Curry is almost sure to break Allen’s record and likely has more huge games up his sleeve. But Steph isn’t the only player draining triples, and as a result, a player like Miller will eventually fall further down his all-time ranking.
All statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference.