Mark Jackson admitted that he challenged Stephen Curry to become more aggressive. "I thought he was over-passing. My goal wasn't to make him the league leader in assists," Jackson reiterated on Curry's outburst in scoring, putting him back on pace to reach and/or exceed the lofty heights he achieved last season.
Fortunately for the rest of the nation that wasn't pushing panic buttons or penning 1,000+ words on the ills and commiserating over the travails of Curry's "plunging" three-point percentage (including myself), we had to be reminded once again that this type of shooting is as rare a talent as any. A player shooting under 40 percent from 3 and people are suddenly worried about his fatigue, mindset, and workload? To the best goes the most hallowed criticism, and simultaneously, compliments.
34 points on 13-19 shooting (4-6 on threes), nine assists, and two turnovers against a Chicago defense sans Carlos Boozer ( a bad thing for the Warriors offense) is as impressive as anything you can do against a Bulls defense. Let's just collectively anesthesia the fact that the Bulls are playing their third game in four nights and that Coach Tom Thibodeau was forced to play Taj Gibson and D.J. Out-of-the-League a month ago Augustin 46 and 24 minutes, respectively.
According to my unreleased and top-secret formula, if the Warriors continue playing teams on the end of road trips or on back-to-backs they'll go 32-0 the rest of the way. Pretty savvy stuff, I must add.
I'm currently in talks with the higher-ups to rename this award "Curry's Corner" or some other lame thing that's reserved for a player that is the soul of this offense in a way that hasn't been the case as long I've watched the Warriors. When Baron Davis sat out for stretches (rarely because he was somehow in shape when he was playing here), the Warriors relied on Stephen Jackson or Monta Ellis. There was always reliable second or third options, at least on offense.
This season, the Warriors are simply crumbling in the face of everything when he hits the bench.
As for what Curry said when I asked him what he had to say about Jackson challenging to shoot more
"He told you that? I didn't hear that. Thank you. I need a name because I need to quote you in case I get in trouble," Curry said with a smile on his face.
In his last ten games since the 7-19 (4-13 three point shooting) effort in a loss against the Denver Nuggets on 1/15, Curry has shot 53 percent from the field, 48.3 percent from distance, and averaged 30 points in nearly 38 minutes per game. I don't know what Coach Jackson or if he said anything, but whatever happened, it worked.
2. I didn't write much of a game story because besides Curry, the play itself was slow, sloppy and generally boring. The Bulls ran a dull offensive playbook, especially considering their personnel. The Warriors offense when Curry wasn't shooting threes was a slow, painstaking, shuffle of Jermaine O'Neal, Klay Thompson post-ups and isos. The Warriors started slow, took over the second quarter and slowly stamped out any hope for a comeback behind some excellent defense and timely shooting against a tired Bulls squad.
In a possession during the third quarter, Curry and Iguodala spent 18 seconds of the shot clock trying to get Thompson on an iso against Augustin. The Bulls fouled on the entry pass. After the reset, the Warriors got a pin-down screen for a Thompson contested long two in less than three seconds. What's the difference?
3. Jordan Crawford made a couple passes driving to the basket and in transition that wasn't in his repertoire before this season. It was a long quote so I'll summarize Jackson on Crawford: He's the kind of guy that comes to the playground and plays without warming up, stretching, or shooting any shots. Then when he leaves with a win you're just confused. He's been great.
4. The Warriors drew three straight fouls on off-ball flops in the second quarter. Draymond Green twice and Curry once. I don't really have much to say beyond that.
5. Curry will never sit out another meaningful second half minute. Thibs and Jackson have got that in common if they're coaching the Warriors.
6. Harrison Barnes started 0-6 but finished 4-10, nailing three threes. Granted, they were wide open because of Curry's presence and general awesomness but these were open shots that David Lee, Marreese Speights, Green, and even Thompson weren't hitting in the past month. However, he still appears to avoid contact. Even on his righty finish across the lane, he floated sideways before shooting.
7. The Warriors travel to Phoenix to play the Suns on Saturday. It looks like Lee will sit while Bogut will play.
Statistical support for this piece provided by NBA.com, unless stated otherwise.