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Mandatory viewing as Curry closes in on record
One to tie, two to break - and it's all going down in New York
I should be working right now. Tons of looming deadlines and priorities that are waiting to be addressed. But I just cannot stop thinking about Stephen Curry and the game tonight that the Golden State Warriors are going to play against the New York Knicks.
It’s fitting that Curry will likely end up breaking the all-time record for three pointers made in Madison Square Garden - the site of Curry's breakout 54-point explosion against the Knicks back in 2013. It’s also the team that Curry and his family wanted to go to when he first entered the league as a college standout.
Here’s the quote from Curry himself, confirming a rumor that didn’t really need confirmation — not after watching him slam his palm on the table and go “damn!” when his name was called by Golden State on draft night. You can hear the New York fans booing in that video embedded above, but expect plenty of cheers tonight.
Warriors fans talk a lot about Minnesota’s draft night, but the blank box, sitting forlornly below the Warriors’ pick is possibly the sadder part of this image.
Because the world was almost very different.
"I wanted to go to New York and thought I was going to New York," the three-time NBA champion said. "At the draft -- in the green room -- like, 'Oh, get to the eight spot and New York can get me.'
"And then I got the call from (then-Warriors GM) Larry Riley, like 'We're going to pick you in the seventh spot.'"
On the injury front, it looks like Otto Porter is getting a night off. Notably, the team had some travel troubles getting out of Indiana last night. Due to plane trouble, the team took the unusual step of staying over and then flying into New York today (only to be met with further delays this morning). Per the most recent reports, the team is due to land about seven hours prior to tipoff.
The Knicks are short-handed too. Victims of the latest round of health and safety protocol quarantines that have exploded across the league in recent days.
WHO: Golden State Warriors (22-5) at New York Knicks (12-15)
WHEN: Tuesday, December 14, 2021 // 4:30pm PDT
Blog Buddy: The Strickland
The Crowning of the King of Threes
That Stephen Curry deserves to hold the NBA’s three-point record is irrefutable (sorry, salty Ray Allen). That it’s coming now, and probably happening in the Garden, just serves to augment the auspiciousness of the occasion. It’s been three games since that game at Chase Center, where everyone wondered if Curry had 16 threes in him. A preposterous single-game tally, such a lofty goal would have been laughed at were we talking about anyone else.
But not for Curry. He’s made a career out of the absurd.
Now, with the record so close though, things have gotten weird. Like an over-eager kid playing NBA2k (ok, it’s me, I play like this) Curry has been launching a prodigious amount of threes. It’s not how he and the Warriors normally play, and there’s a reason for that. Now, I think everyone (except maybe Ray Allen) is ready to get it done and move forward. To escape this liminal space.
“I think it’s on his mind every shot he shoots,” Green said after last night’s victory. “Every 3.”
Curry is 14 of 46 from deep since hoping to break the record at home against the Portland Trail Blazers. A shockingly pedestrian 30%. Three games later now, and still one short of tying Ray Allen’s record; two from beating it — and hopefully years more of moving the bar miles beyond where it used be.
Like Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan, Curry has dramatically impacted the game - to the point where rule changes and stylist preferences around the league have been impacted. Hell, the team just shrugged and decided to play without a big center this season because of the world of options that Curry’s presence opens in the fabric of basketball reality.
Though guys like Ray Allen and Reggie Miller have already demonstrated the value and beauty of the three ball, no one has done it so well, or under so many different circumstances as Curry. Catch and shoot? Sure. But what about crazy off the dribble shots?
Oddly, it’s his strengths that have led to people deriding his accomplishments. “Not a true point guard like CP3” they’ll say.
Oh, and this one too.
Ever since lighting the world on fire in the second half of his rookie season, it was Curry’s body, not talent, that have been seen as the limiting factor. After dealing with a rash of ankle injuries, it helped Curry transform his approach to his body and how he trains. Now bigger, stouter, and more sure of his base, Curry has developed into one of the Warriors most well-rounded players.
But it’s the absurdity of his offensive game that is so riveting, not his stability.
Remember when Greg Popovich said he didn’t like threes? It was a long time ago. Long enough that it feels like ages, like an ancient civilization that has crumbled under the pressures of a changing world. Curry is so good, that even video games had to rethink their math.
“To be completely honest, we are still looking for ways to better translate his game into NBA 2K,” gameplay director Mike Wang told Forbes in an interview published yesterday. “He’s a ‘rule breaker’ when it comes to jump shooting … he becomes a problem in the video game world where we’ve been trying to train our gamers [to know] that certain types of shots should be rewarded versus others.”
For anyone — those following his career since the beginning, or those new to the party — Curry’s name is synonymous with shooting excellence. Looking back on his journey, and remembering all the crazy moments while also looking forward to everything left to come has me feeling all sorts of things.
This game is going to be a mandatory watch. Just like Curry’s entire career has been: riveting.
The record will fall tonight.
Oh, and remember: the return of Klay Thompson is extremely imminent.
Also, there’s going to be A LOT of Curry fans in attendance tonight. I’ve been to exactly one game at Madison Square Garden - a crappy mid-week game between a bad Knicks team and another bad (maybe Pacers?) team. The hum of conversation was constant, and only occasionally obscured by the roar of the crowd.
Tonight? It’s going to be electric in there.