The Golden State Warriors are on the verge of securing one of the final two Western Conference playoff spots. Star guard Stephen Curry has played a significant part in that effort. Before facing the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night, Curry chose to send a strong message to the doubters.
Stephen Curry’s MVP-caliber season
Curry entered his 12th season with plenty of motivation to showcase his game-changing talent.
He responded by putting together another MVP-caliber campaign. Curry earned his second scoring title behind averaging 32.0 points while shooting 48.2% from the floor and 42.1% from 3-point range.
His 38 games with at least 30 points rank second-most in NBA history behind Michael Jordan (44) in a single season for a player in their 12th season or later. His 11 performances of 40 or more points also only trail Jordan (12) in that same regard.
As the Warriors prepare to face the Lakers, Curry has a final message for the skeptics.
Stephen Curry sends final message to doubters ahead of play-in game against the Lakers
Before the 2020-21 season, many voiced doubt around the Warriors’ chance of reaching the playoffs.
The loss of star guard Klay Thompson due to a torn Achilles tendon drastically shifted the expectations south. Despite that, Golden State pushed forward, with Curry leading the charge behind earning his second career scoring title to secure his team a spot in the play-in tournament.
With that in mind, the two-time league MVP chose to snap back at the doubters before facing the Lakers.
“Nobody thought we were even going to be in this position. A lot of people had us way, way, way down the standings coming in after Klay got hurt so there’s a lot of things that we already flipped on its head to this point, so we might as well keep going,” Curry said via Nick Friedell of ESPN.
Curry is a significant reason why Golden State can earn one of the final two playoff spots. His MVP-caliber campaign lifted the Warriors into potential postseason play instead of exactly where the doubters believed the team would be.
The 32-year-old holds more than enough motivation to guide the Warriors ahead against the Lakers. Curry will approach the play-in game as he has all season long, viewing it as another opportunity to prove the skeptics wrong.
Lakers present a daunting challenge
The Warriors are on the doorstep of the playoff, but the Lakers remain ahead.
Los Angeles found itself in this precarious position after an injury-riddled campaign. Despite winning their final five regular-season games, the Lakers couldn’t avoid the play-in tournament.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis each returned, but questions remain around whether the two stars are healthy enough to guide them to another NBA title push. Meanwhile, the Warriors blazed through the final nine regular-season games, holding an 8-1 record.
Curry led the charge in May, averaging 36.8 points, 5.6 assists, and 5.1 rebounds per contest. During that span, he posted north of 20 points in every game, including three 40-point performances. In 21 out of the last 25 contests, he notched 30 or more points while averaging 36.9 points on 49.1% shooting from the floor and 43.7% from 3-point range.
Golden State will need every bit of Curry’s scoring to have a chance to move past Los Angeles. The Lakers hold a considerable edge behind their talent alone, but the Warriors may be clicking at the right time to pull off the upset.
All those factors will lead to a highly entertaining contest on Wednesday night at Staples Center.