Steph shows no signs of slowing after latest prolific performance


Steph shows no signs of slowing after latest prolific performance originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

Stephen Curry is about five weeks shy of his 36th birthday and showing absolutely no signs of slowing down.

If anything, the Warriors star is proving he still very much has it and wants more.

Five days after torching the Atlanta Hawks for a 60-piece, Curry dropped 42 points on the Indiana Pacers behind a season-high 11 3-pointers and helped the Warriors cap a fantastic 4-1 road trip with a 131-109 win.

Yet in the aftermath of what was yet another chapter to his amazing career, Curry spent more time talking about the rest of his teammates than he did his own achievements.

Curry specifically pointed out the efforts Golden State received from Gui Santos and Lester Quinones, but credited the entire squad with how things have turned around for the team over the past week.

And yes, the Warriors still have their focus and faith on making a run to the NBA playoffs.

“Everybody’s contributing. That’s the way we’re going to build a run like we have and like we want to keep doing,” Curry told reporters in Indiana. “This last half of the season, it’s up to us to go out and try to build as many wins and be a team nobody wants to see come playoff time, and take it from there.”

It’s not even an arguable point that the Warriors wouldn’t even have thought about the postseason if it weren’t for Curry. Klay Thompson has been mired in a season-long funk, and Draymond Green has been in and out of the lineup while serving a pair of NBA suspensions.

Golden State has seen a recent trend from its younger players who are making significant contributions, but this remains very much a team anchored by the trio of Curry, Thompson and Green.

Ironically, Thompson wasn’t around for Curry’s latest heroics. On his 34th birthday, Thompson was inactive because of an illness and most likely was back at the team hotel.

What he missed was classic Curry.

Already the best 3-point shooter in NBA history, Curry made a serious run at trying to spoil Thompson’s birthday. Thompson holds the NBA for most 3s made in a game with 14 set in 2018. That’s one of the few 3-point marks in the history books that Curry doesn’t own.

He looked like he might get it, however, after nailing his first seven 3s, six of them during the first quarter when Golden State shot out to a big lead that it never gave up. The two-time NBA scoring champion finished with 42 points and went 11 of 16 beyond the arc.

It marked the 13th time in his career that Curry has poured in 11 or more 3-pointers. Eight of the 3s against the Pacers came in the first half, marking the fifth time in his career that the 10-time NBA All-Star has reached that mark.

It’s the fourth time during the 2023-24 NBA season alone that Curry has put up 40 points or more. It’s also the 42nd time he has had nine or more 3s on an opponent, tops in league history.

This came one day after Curry sputtered and managed nine points with just one 3-pointer in a victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.

Yet Curry shook off that bad night and looked much more like the guy that dropped 60 on the Hawks last Saturday than the guy who made only two shots against Philadelphia.

“Steph was scalding hot in that first quarter,” coach Steve Kerr said in what might be the biggest understatement of the year.

Curry didn’t get many open looks against Indiana. The highest-scoring team in the NBA this season, the Pacers tried several different looks on defense and attempted to slow down the pace of the game in hopes of getting Curry to slow down somewhat.

It didn’t matter.

No matter whom the Pacers used to defend Curry, the result often was the same. Curry shooting from deep, the ball sinking through the net without touching the rim.

That included when the Pacers tried to throw a double-team his way in the first half. After crossing midcourt and clearing the logo, Curry let loose with a heave that once again hit nothing but net.

Despite his torrid start, though, Curry said Thompson’s single-game record wasn’t much on his mind. And with Thompson not there to remind him about it, Curry just kept shooting and making.

“Actually I wasn’t [thinking about Thompson’s record] at all until probably the middle of the third quarter, and I realized, obviously, they were making some adjustments to slow the pace down a little bit,” Curry said.

Curry also showed he’s still much more than just a pure shooter. He split between two defenders and raced to the bucket for a score to end the first half, then drove around the Pacers’ Myles Turner for an easy basket early in the third quarter.

Curry was fouled and had a chance for a three-point play but missed the ensuing free throw, ending a streak of 49 consecutive makes from the stripe that was the fifth-longest stretch of Curry’s career.

As if his legacy isn’t Hall of Fame-worthy already, Curry also became just the 34th player in NBA history to reach 23,000 points during his career.

Now, the Warriors’ focus shifts to the remainder of the season. The win over the Pacers, coupled with the Jazz losing to the Phoenix Suns on Thursday, moves Golden State into a tie with Utah for the final spot in the Western Conference play-in bracket.

“You want to continue to stay in the moment, learn the lessons that have changed for us, from an execution standpoint, an energy standpoint, a focus standpoint to give us our results,” Curry said. “Our defense has been a little bit better and [we’re] starting to build an identity on rotating, second- and third efforts, connecting the game on both ends.

“We still got to do a little better with transition defense. Our half-court defense has been really solid and making it tough on teams, keeping them to one shot. That for us has been the difference. We can score, haven’t had much of a problem with that.”

Scoring likely will never be an issue as long as Curry is on the court.

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