Stephen Curry Sends a Terrifying Message With Humongous All-Star Game Outburst
This season it’s been a mixed bag for Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry. He reached the pinnacle among shooters in NBA history when he passed Ray Allen on Dec. 14 as the all-time leader in three-pointers. Meanwhile, the Warriors re-emerged as a title contender after two seasons out of the playoffs.
But at the same time, Curry is shooting at career-low levels this season. He’s hitting 50.9% from inside the arc and 37.9% on 12.3 triple tries a night. The only worse season for the two-time NBA MVP was his injury- and pandemic-shortened 2019–20 campaign when he was 12-of-49 (24.5%) in five games.
The eight-time All-Star shot only 32.9% from deep in January and just 37.7% this month. But he went supernova during the Feb. 21 NBA All-Star Game in Cleveland, sending a message to the NBA that he’s as dangerous as he ever was.
Stephen Curry’s All-Star Game MVP performance was historic
How hot was Stephen Curry at the All-Star Game? He drained his 10th three-pointer with 8:37 left in the third quarter. That broke Paul George’s single-game record of nine set at the 2016 midseason exhibition in Toronto.
Steph wasn’t even close to being done. He finished the night with 50 points, hitting a preposterous 16-of-27 from beyond the arc. That’s two more than Golden State teammate Klay Thompson’s record 14 against the Chicago Bulls on Oct. 29, 2018.
Curry hit five straight in the third quarter Sunday night before missing a heat-check from just inside halfcourt. He made eight in each half, canning 8-of-11 before intermission and dropping 8-of-16 taking part in honoring the NBA’s 75th-anniversary team at halftime.
Will the white-hot shooting continue once the Warriors return at Portland on Feb. 24? The three-time NBA champion showed signs of breaking out of his funk on Feb. 14 with an 8-of-13 performance in a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Feb. 14.
But the 33-year-old closed the unofficial first half of the season by going 1-of-7 in a loss to the Denver Nuggets on Feb. 16.
Stephen Curry pressed as he neared Allen’s record
Through his first 23 games, Stephen Curry was, well, Stephen Curry. He shot 41.6% from long range in that span as he closed to within 16 makes of passing Allen.
According to Nick Friedell of ESPN, the superstar joked after hitting eight bombs against the Orlando Magic on Dec. 6 that he might go for the necessary 16 in his next game to complete the record chase.
Instead, Curry went 6-of-17 against Portland and followed that with 3-of-14 and 5-of-15 outings at Philadelphia and Indiana. The record was his with two threes against the Knicks on Dec. 14.
But since the boast, Steph has shot 34.7% from bonus territory. The seven-time participant in the Three-Point Shootout at All-Star Weekend sat out this year’s festivities despite being the defending champion.
Maybe the extra rest was the ticket. In the All-Star Game, Curry looked as deadly as ever from long range. He wasn’t hitting the tiptoe-up-to-the-line variety, either. Six of his 16 triples were from 32 feet or deeper.
Regardless of it being an exhibition game, the display of marksmanship was impressive.
The Golden State Warriors are in the championship chase
With the All-Star Game in the rearview mirror, Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors have 23 games left before the playoffs.
At 42-17, they are second in the Western Conference, 6.5 games behind the Phoenix Suns. Their magic number to clinch a playoff berth is 12. And they have a puncher’s chance to run down the Suns for the top seed after Chris Paul broke his thumb and will miss most if not all the remainder of the regular season.
More relevant may be the battle for second place. Golden State leads the upstart Memphis Grizzlies by 1.5 games for homecourt advantage in what would be a tremendous second-round series.
Don’t forget; Ja Morant and the Grizzlies ended the Warriors’ season last year. Memphis went into San Francisco and grabbed the eighth seed with a 117–112 overtime victory despite 39 points from Curry.
Golden State is still without All-Star Draymond Green. He is recovering from a lower-back injury that’s had him sidelined since Jan. 5 (save for a seven-second cameo in Thompson’s return on Jan. 9). According to Shayna Rubin of The Mercury News, on Feb. 3, the 2016–17 Defensive Player of the Year said he expected to be back in three to four weeks.
Since Green’s injury, the Warriors are 13–9, with nine wins coming consecutively from Jan. 21–Feb. 7. They lost four of their last five games before the All-Star break.
But Stephen Curry sent a loud message to the rest of the NBA with his explosion in Cleveland. Ignore him and the Warriors at your peril.