It’s sometimes easy to forget that even though he’s not necessarily the best player on his own team, Stephen Curry is an MVP calibre talent who is more than capable of carrying his side to wins.
Curry’s past two games have served as a reminder of that, coming on the heels of arguably one of his worst performances in recent memory.
After being held to just nine points in the high-profile loss to Boston, Curry has returned to peak form by scoring a combined 74 points on 54.3 per cent shooting from the field and 42.1 per cent on 3-pointers in victories over Philadelphia and Brooklyn.
As he’s done during much of Golden State’s run of dominance and at times last season, Curry powered the Warriors to a 118-111 win over the Nets on Sunday without Kevin Durant on the Durant, who is averaging 24.9 points per game, missed his second contest of the season, this time to a sprained left ankle, which put more onus on Curry to shoulder the scoring load.
“It’s 25, 26 points that are missing and you’ve got to try to put pressure on the defence to kind of honour your scoring threat and open up the floor for everyone else,” Curry said.
Curry didn’t see out the win, fouling out with three minutes left after drawing a charging foul on a drive.
But his effort through the game’s first 45 minutes were enough to stave off a second-half surge by Brooklyn as he finished with a season-high 39 points on 14-of-24 shooting to go with 11 rebounds and seven assists.
Now at 29 and with his two MVP seasons in the rear-view mirror, Curry may not be fully at the height of his powers anymore.
His current field goal percentage of 46.7 is his lowest since 2012-13, while he’s shooting under 40 per cent from long range (38.3) for the first time in his career.
Curry’s pull-up shooting efficiency has also dipped since his supernova season in 2015-16, dropping from 44.3 per cent overall and 43.0 on 3s that season, to 38.9 and 36.7 per cent last year, to 46.2 and 36.2 per cent so far this season – all while his attempts have also dropped.
Despite what has so far been an ‘off’ shooting season for Curry, he still ranks 22nd among qualified players in true shooting percentage – calculating a player’s field goal percentage, 3-point percentage and free throw percentage together – with a mark of 64.6.
Even at less than his best, arguably the greatest shooter in the history of the game remains deadly and if his past two performances are any indication, the Warriors will have no shortage of firepower even when Durant sits.