Curry closes in on record books as Warriors host troubled, injury-depleted Blazers
McCollum, Lillard both out. Questions abound!
Like trains rumbling past each other going in opposite directions, the dichotomy between the current vibes around the Golden State Warriors and Portland Trail Blazers could not be more disparate. The Warriors are thriving. Tied for the best record in the league, with Klay Thompson mere weeks away from return, Andrew Wiggins has turned into a killer after dunking on an old teammate, the new bench is fantastic. Stephen Curry is on the brink of breaking a record that he will spend years shattering further… it’s hard to imagine a more rosy scenario.
Portland on the other hand, is rocking - and not in the fun, cool way. We’ll get to that in a moment. First: the logistics.
On the injury front, the Warriors are saying that Iguodala might play, but he’s listed as Questionable so it would still be a surprise if he was back (though I could see having him show up to help see if Curry can break the three point record).
The Blazers have a whole raft of people on their injury report. Most notably, both Damian Lillard (abdomen) and CJ McCollum (collapsed lung(!)) are all the way out, but they’ve also got some significant rotation players potentially missing this game too.
WHO: Golden State Warriors (20-4) vs Portland Trail Blazers (11-14)
WHEN: Tuesday, December 8, 2021 // 7:00 pm PDT
WATCH: ESPN; NBCSBA
“I'm not coming out with that as the true goal of how I play, but crazier things have happened.”
Curry is 16 threes away from breaking the record for the most makes ever. That quote above was his response when asked about how hard he’s going to try and chase the record tonight - the last home game before an extended road trip. Curry, averaging 5.5 makes per game, would also have to make more threes in a game than anyone in history to break it (busting Klay Thompson’s record of 14 set in October 2018) but it’s Curry, so don’t rule anything out.
The writing has been on the wall for this record to be broken. It’s faded on the wall like the pencil marks you made when the kids were younger to track their growth when it still mattered how tall they were every year. Curry is beyond a hall of famer. He’s transformed the game, and continues to be a terror that defenses across the league have no good answer for.
Curry is lethal.
16 in a game isn't out of the question. Curry's the second leading scorer in the NBA, and pouring in that huge volume of points efficiently. 126.3 points per 100 shot attempts per Cleaning the Glass which is in the top 3% of players at his position. He also assisting on 30% of his teammates shots while on the court, and playing the best defense of his career. Look at this shot chart. Red is hot. Lower left is pain.
But will Curry be enough of a psycho? I don’t actually see him pressing too hard if it isn’t there.
I feel like often times when he’s within arms length of one of these records, it gets a little weird. But maybe that’s why he embraces it and just goes for breaking the record at home. For funsies. If anyone has a puncher’s chance of breaking the NBA’s biggest record for outside shooting, it’s Curry.
What’s crazy is that he’s achieving that 97th percentile while shooting the worst he ever has from two-point range. His 47.9% from inside the arch is in the 44th percentile. Folks, that is below average! And still he’s elite overall.
We were talking in the comments on the last preview about how often Curry was blocked, what his shot profile frequency looked liked, et cetera. So after looking into it, here’s the portion of the shooting data that I think is most interesting. Look how hard it is to assist Curry shots. Again, the basic number is the percentage, and then the colored blocks indicate percentile rank (blue means he’s not assisted as much).
Now, these should be seen within the context of what the Warriors want to get (in other words, of course they work harder to get him threes), but it’s noteworthy that so few of his shots inside the arch are unassisted - and less accurate.
Still, Curry is for sure going to take a stab at the record tonight. Never one to force it too much, I think he’ll be as free with the trigger as ever, but if the Blazers overcommit to stopping him from getting the record, something tells me that Curry will be perfectly happy dumping off the pass and letting his team carve up the rest of the Portland defense.
It’s sure to be one heck of a show one way or the other. And it would really be the first “big thing” at Chase.
Oh Portland, why is it so tough?
I love Portland. Got family up there, love the trees and breweries. But man. That franchise has had a tough go of it. I remember rooting for Clyde Drexler’s squads. I remember the heartbreak of seeing Greg Oden’s career fail to launch, and then Brandon Roy’s derailed by injury. It’s tough. And this new generation isn’t going much better.
I came in all ready to joyously dunk on a former competitor, but instead I’m just sitting here with deep sadness.
I’m no doctor, the team doesn’t have an official timeline yet, but that sounds like a serious injury. McCollum will miss tonight’s game, and we’ll just hope that he’s able to return to action as soon as possible.
It’s another blow to a roster core that seems to be reeling and about to catch that final knockout punch. Lillard has been out for an extended period with an internal abdominal issue.
On a macro scale, the historic inertia has built up as much pressure for change as you’ll see in a team. The two best players are essentially different versions of the same guy, and neither one likes to play defense much. Star Oakland native, Damian Lillard has been at the center of intrigue. First vocally saying that he’s staying, then getting attached to rumblings about wanting out via trusted reporter Chris Hayes, Lillard is toeing the line, but anyone can see that this roster isn’t going to work.
Sitting in 10th, sporting the NBA’s worst defensive rating, and 25th net rating, the Blazers are a wreck, and I’m just sad about it.
I’m going to say Curry breaks the record, just so I’m on the right side of history if it happens.
Also, we won’t be seeing James Wiseman till next year, and that’s ok.