On Friday night, D’Angelo Russell had his most memorable game since joining the Golden State Warriors. Heck, it might go down as his most memorable game during his entire Warriors tenure.
Russell torched the Minnesota Timberwolves for 52 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists, forcing overtime in a game the Warriors had no business being in.
It was memorable for a lot of reasons. One of them was the 37 shots that Russell hoisted, making 19. If it felt like 37 shots was uncharacteristic of a Steve Kerr offense, well . . . it was. Entirely uncharacteristic.
I'm sure this has been mentioned, but D'Angelo Russell's 37 shot attempts the other night were more than any Warrior since Monta Ellis in 2010.— Brady Klopfer (@BradyKlopferNBA) November 12, 2019
A few scorers have passed through the building in that time.
That’s right. The last time a Warriors player attempted 37 or more shot attempts was on January 18, 2010, when Monta Ellis made 14 of 39 shots, en route to 36 points (for those counting at home, Steph Curry had 26 points in that game . . . on 21 fewer shot attempts).
Curry has never attempted 37 shots. Klay Thompson has never attempted 37 shots. Kevin Durant, during his three-year Warriors tenure, never attempted 37 shots (nor did he ever do so with the Oklahoma City Thunder).
Taking 37 shots in a Warriors jersey is a spot reserved for Wilt Chamberlain, Rick Barry, and a few random names.
It bears noting that taking 37 shots is not necessarily a good thing, nor is it necessarily a bad thing. It’s just a thing. But the Warriors have recently employed two of the all-time great scorers in NBA history, plus one of the greatest shooters ever . . . and none of them have taken that many shots. It’s rather remarkable.
Russell had his reasons. Not only did the game go to overtime, but his teammates in the starting lineup were Jordan Poole, Glenn Robinson III, Eric Paschall, and Willie Cauley-Stein. That’s the kind of lineup that practically begs your All-Star to shoot 37 times.
Still, it’s kind of funny, albeit frustrating for those who have wished to see Curry fully unleashed. Only now does Kerr seem to fully embrace running high screen after high screen after high screen. But oh well. For as long as Curry and Thompson are out, I think most fans are fine with Russell putting up a few dozen shots.
For what it’s worth, no other player has taken so many shots this year. It only happened twice last year, both times by James Harden.
As for total points, the 52 Russell scored were tied for fourth-most during this era of Warriors basketball. Thompson holds the record with 60, while Curry has put in 54 and 53. Thompson has twice scored exactly 52 points.
Durant’s Warriors high was 51.