Once the opening whistle blew in Madison Square Garden, it didn’t take Steph Curry long to finally break Ray Allen’s record for regular season three-pointers. He splashed his second triple of the game with 7:33 left on the clock in the first quarter, which drew an ovation from just about everyone in the building.
Fittingly, Allen was in the building, as was Reggie Miller, who was the NBA’s three-point king before Jesus Shuttleworth came along. The two legends paid tribute to Curry after the game.
The ovation Curry received for his milestone, away home from mind you, showed the kind of appreciation that many NBA fans have for the impact that he’s had on the game of basketball. You have to be special to elicit a response like that from an opposing crowd.
Record aside, Curry’s performance in this particular game wasn’t particularly mind-boggling. He had 22 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, a steal, a block, and 4 turnovers while shooting 8 of 19 overall and 5 of 14 from beyond the arc.
However, it was such a big night because it affirmed his status as the greatest shooter of all time, and one of the best entertainers that the NBA has ever produced. When the Warriors are on TV, people watch, and the lion’s share of credit goes to Curry.
Curry isn’t the only deadly marksman of his generation. He’s part of a club that includes fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson, Damian Lillard, James Harden, Kevin Durant, and more. Considering the quality of his company, it’s even more impressive that Curry is the one that has become synonymous with the three-pointer. People tune in because you never know the crazy things that he might pull off in a game, as his lack of conscience when it comes to the long ball results in so many memorable highlights.
For a 6’3 guard who was never considered a high-flyer, Curry manages to elicit the same oohs and ahhs as the NBA’s most prolific dunk artists. Curry has inspired players around the world to be a little less fearful of the long-ball, and that’s immediately evident when you watch his young teammate Jordan Poole, who has absolutely no fear of hoisting a long bomb. He and other players are willing to do that because they have a role model.
Curry and the Warriors were the first team to live and die by the three and win a title. They weren’t the first ones to adopt the three-heavy approach, as Daryl Morey was the one who experimented with excessively increasing the volume of three-pointers taken in a game. His Harden-led Rockets teams never managed to win the chip, though, thanks to a mix of bad luck with injuries while running into the Warriors.
It’s icing on the cake that the Warriors are back to their winning ways this year, and are at the top of the Western Conference with a 23-5 record. They also hold the best point differential in the league at +11.6.
Last season, you could have knocked Curry by saying that he won the scoring title but couldn’t make it past a young Grizzlies team in the play-in. While those Grizzlies did beat them in their first meeting of the 2021-22 season, the Dubs have rallied behind Curry and shown that they’re more than a one-trick pony. This shows that Curry continues to be an integral part of a winning culture, but is now able to rely on his teammates to pick up the slack when he has off nights. He’s had a number of stinkers this season so far, but for the most part the other Warriors have picked up the slack where needed.
The Dubs aren’t far away from seeing the return of Thompson, who has been out of action for two seasons. If Thompson comes back at even 70% of what he was, it’s going to be even harder to send out double teams to neutralize that patented Curry long ball. If James Wiseman also comes back strong, Golden State could make a serious run at an NBA title.
Curry still has a lot left in the tank, and let’s hope that he continues playing the game with the same reckless abandon, even when he reaches the twilight of his career. For now, let’s just keep having fun watching him every time he gets on the hardwood.
Just for fun, here’s a throwback video of Steph Curry’s first NBA game. He may have lost 108-107 to the Rockets that day, but the DNA was there. He opened the game by assisting on a bucket, and then bricking a pull-up three in transition on the next possession. Little did we know that he’d start making those shots with regularity while changing the game of basketball.