Steph Curry knows how to put on a show. This isn’t exactly new information.
But while the chef puts on a performance nearly every time he laces up his Under Armours, sometimes those performances are extra special.
Monday night, on national TV, against one of the best teams in the league, was one of those times.
Curry announced his presence from the start, when he made threes on the Golden State Warriors second and third possessions of the game. He needed just 19 points to pass Wilt Chamberlain and become the Warriors all-time leading scorer, and the announcers immediately commented that he looked like he’d get there in the first quarter.
And then he kept going, and kept going, and kept going.
The final line? 53 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 14-for-24 shooting, 10-for-18 three-point shooting, 15-for-16 from the free throw line.
If there’s a way to pass the great Wilt as your franchise’s greatest scorer, that is emphatically the way.
Now can we please roll some tape?
11 points in the first stanza for Steph & we're not even halfway through the quarter— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) April 13, 2021
Y'all, Steph is COOKIN' pic.twitter.com/AueXegxIj5— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) April 13, 2021
Steph isn't human pic.twitter.com/K7E1N5ui6a— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) April 13, 2021
That just might be the best basketball player alive, folks.
Curry’s performance, mixed with solid games from the bulk of his teammates, made for a surprisingly convincing win over one of the West’s elite, the Denver Nuggets. The Dubs trailed by five at halftime, but came out firing in the third, outscoring the Nuggets 43-22. They were in control for the bulk of the fourth quarter, before some final minute sloppiness allowed Denver to close the final margin, resulting in a final score of 116-107.
Steph was the main attraction, but there were plenty of other performances to be excited about, even with James Wiseman and Kelly Oubre Jr. sidelined. Draymond Green had 18 points on 7-for-8 shooting (plus 7 rebounds, 7 assists, and 4 steals), marking his highest point total since Dec. 25, 2019.
But it wasn’t just a nice number in the box score. Green was aggressive offensively all night, and repeatedly pushed the ball downhill, putting pressure on Denver’s mediocre defense. It was the same attacking approach he used when he was an unquestioned positive on offense, and the team benefitted greatly from it. He was also forced to be the center in many lineups, due to Wiseman’s injury, and perhaps his play will help remind the organization that that’s where he’s at his best.
Andrew Wiggins and Damion Lee had solid performances, primarily on defense. Juan Toscano-Anderson brought a toughness and tenaciousness that clearly carried onto his teammates.
But most importantly, everyone who took the court for the Dubs played a role in making sure that the ball moved, the wings cut, and the defense was active.
In many ways, it was the blueprint for what the Warriors can do to be successful. Curry handled the basketball like a maestro handles an orchestra. Green was a two-way star. And the role players read, reacted, and moved both their bodies and the ball, in a way that will surely allow Steve Kerr to sleep peacefully.
It was beautiful. I’ve missed beautiful Warriors basketball.
The only negative on the night was that Denver’s young point guard Jamal Murray appeared to suffer a severe knee injury in the final minute. Here’s hoping he’s all right.