Hail to the Chef: Curry's historic night reminds Dub Nation why We Still Believe
53 points was enough for Curry to become GSW's all-time leading scorer and help the Warriors get a big W over a formidable Denver Nuggets team.
Did you really think the injury decimated Golden State Warriors would bully the 4th seeded Denver Nuggets in Chase Center? For many of you I’m assuming the answer was “hell to the naw” considering the Dubs couldn’t even defeat the lowly Washington Wizards the other night. But a historic night from Stephen Curry led his team to a crucial 116-107 victory, reminding us how fun it is to believe in this team.
Let’s jump into how Golden State turned that “hell to the naw” into “Hail to the Chef”.
Steph Curry makes history while eating Nuggets
The depressing James Wiseman injury news from Saturday night had observers wondering if the franchise was actually cursed. With mighty Denver rolling into town there was a palpable fear that this Warriors season was finally ready to implode under the weight of their health issues.
I’m sure a lotta folks tuned in last night just hoping to witness Curry passing Wilt Chamberlain atop Golden State’s all-time scoring list. It would be tough to expect this depleted roster to score enough to beat a contender, but for entertainment purposes he only needed 19 points to supplant the Big Dipper’s 17,738 points.
Thankfully, Curry is an elite multitasker and decided to kill two birds with one basketball. He started with hellacious offensive tour-de-force in the first quarter to pass Chamberlain, scoring 21 points in the first quarter!!
From there the onslaught continued:
53 points on 14-of-24 shooting from the field, 10-of-18 from 3PT range, and a fabulous 15-of-16 from the free throw line.
3rd 50-point game this season.
7th straight 30-point game.
7th time he scored 50+ points with 10+ treys.
Some teams have mobile bigs that can at least contest Curry out there in 3PT land (I’m thinking guys like Anthony Davis and Bam Adebayo), but there’s several other teams that employ slow-footed bigs who’d rather give up a Curry bomb than get crossed to death and give up layups. Denver’s All-Star center Nikola Jokic is one of said cement-footed bigs. Check this clip:
Jokic entered Curry’s airspace but the big center knew the li’l dude can blow by him, so he preemptively started inching backwards in case there’s a race to the rim. Meanwhile, Curry’s original defender Jamal Murray is out of position from the Draymond Green pick and can only flail in the passing lane. Curry reads the cues: backpedaling unathletic giant and an out of position Murray? #Death.
Curry is the greatest of all time at putting defenses into these particular lose-lose situations. The victories against Milwaukee (Brook Lopez), Chicago (Nikola Vucevic), Utah (Rudy Gobert) and now Denver reflect how Curry’s Warriors originally ruined the league. Those bigs are constantly stumbling against the Warriors’ move-and-splash style, knowing that the inevitable Curry avalanche will ruin their night.
Wiggins and Dray remind us why they’re rich
Anytime a disgruntled Warriors fan wants to talk about some magical trade that’ll “maximize Curry’s prime”, they’ll inevitably bring up the hefty contracts of Green and Andrew Wiggins. Despite Green leading the team in assists (8.4 dimes per game) and Wiggins averaging 18 PPG (38% 3PT shooting), they’re constantly accused of not contributing enough to warrant their massive paychecks.
But what about defense? Does anyone care about that anymore? Check these stats on the Nuggets when defended by Wiggins last night:
Michael Porter Jr. 3-of-8
Jamal Murray 0-for-3
Aaron Gordon 0-of-1
JaVale McGee 0-of-1
Nikola Jokic 1-of-2
ULTRA ALCATRAZ SOLITARY CONFINEMENT MODE. Green manned the middle despite being completely undersized against those Denver giants, coming up with 4 steals and quarterbacking his Dubs to the right spots. But you’re probably used to those two guys playing elite defense by this point; you just wanna know if they scored some buckets huh?
They did. Green shot 7-of-8 from the field (2-of-3 from downtown!) for 18 points while adding 7 assists. Wiggins scored 17 points of his own on 8-of-17 shooting. I’m sure the Warriors will take performances like this on any night.
Small but tough: the Warrior way
As Duby Dub Dubs alluded to in the preview, the Warriors could stand to benefit from their injuries forcing them to play small. They showed a glimpse of their new rotation’s potential, with Kent Bazemore sliding into Oubre’s starting spot and Kevon Looney starting in place of James Wiseman.
Bazemore had 14 points with three huge triples that kept the Golden State momentum surging. Looney battled against Denver’s bigs with his trademark hustle and smarts, snagging 11 rebounds and dishing out 3 assists in 31 minutes. Damion Lee was a +15 in 14 minutes off the bench, and Oakland’s own Juan Toscano-Anderson played a rather Iguodalian 24 minutes as a reserve. Some of the passes JTA tossed were so intelligent and defense shattering; it’s like he always knows where the play is supposed to go.
I was particularly impressed by how physically antagonistic this group played. They were the aggressors, bullying the Nuggets around with the East Oakland ferocity their forefathers played with during the original We Believe movement.
Let’s put this dominant W into some perspective: this was the ideal night for these Warriors to catch Denver slipping. The visitors were on the second night of a back to back following an emotionally draining collapse the night before.
But this isn’t the first time the Warriors have emphatically rained doubt over Denver’s parade. Remember back in 2019 when the dynasty Warriors brought out the Costco-sized dipping sauce for the up-and-coming Nuggets in comical fashion? There’s something about these Warriors that makes this Northwestern division squad unravel in prime time games.
This win would have been more enjoyable without the gruesome-looking injury Jamal Murray suffered in the final minute of the game.
Sadly, we in Dub Nation are all too familiar with terrible injuries to star players. Here’s hoping Murray has a speedy recovery; he’s a heckuva player. That’s a huge loss for Denver.
Back to the Warriors: it’s exhilarating watching them claw towards a playoff spot in this s̶n̶a̶k̶e̶b̶i̶t̶t̶e̶n̶ bizarre season. Unlike past years where the team was too dominant or too terrible for the regular season to matter, we’re getting a bonafide race to the postseason where each game has massive significance.
And with the news that fans will be returning to the arena soon, the Warriors will be getting their secret weapon back. Dub Nation is the best fanbase in the game, and we know how Curry and Green feed off their energy. Can the fans help empower their team in time to make the playoffs and really activate the true power of We Believe? If so, we’ll be seeing yet another fascinating chapter in Curry’s career play out before our very eyes.
WE GOT STEPH AND THEY DON’T BAHAHAHAAHA