Stephen Curry sent a reminder of what he can do and why he's a serious MVP contender

Jay Asser 25/10/2018
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Stephen Curry has great shooting nights with such regularity that he only grabs headlines now when he goes supernova.

We’ve become blasé to Curry hitting six or seven 3-pointers. So what? He does it seemingly every other game.

Eleven triples? Now we’re talking. That’s exactly what Curry did on Wednesday when he lit up the Washington Wizards for 51 points while moving up to fifth on the NBA’s all-time 3-pointers list.

And he did it in only three quarters, hitting 15-of-24 from the field, including 11-of-16 from long range, as well as all 10 of his free throws before sitting out the fourth with the result in hand.

It was the sixth time in Curry’s career he’s tallied at least 50 points in a game, and the sixth time he’s splashed 11-plus shots from beyond the arc. That’s… a lot.

Curry is such a marksman and so prone to catching fire that it takes a night like Wednesday at Oracle Arena for fans to truly get up and take notice. What would be considered hot-shooting games for other players are just missed opportunities for Curry to have one of his signature performances.

It’s gotten to the point where Curry is being taken for granted on a night-to-night basis because he’s set the ‘wow factor’ bar so high.

It doesn’t help that the expectations for his team are similarly lofty, thanks to the Warriors’ ridiculous star power and recent success.

That’s a major reason why Curry’s candidacy for MVP is fighting an uphill battle. He’s already won the award twice (2015 and 2016), so voter fatigue is a factor, but the fact that he plays with another MVP calibre player in Kevin Durant only cannibalises both players’ cases.

But Curry should be considered a legitimate candidate for MVP this season, regardless of who’s around him. It will take a couple qualifiers for the 30-year-old to garner serious consideration, but it’s not unfeasible to imagine him picking up the award again.

For one, Golden State need to get back to 60 wins. It’s not like they were bad last season with their 58-24 record, but as mentioned, expectations are sky high so anything fewer than sub-60 victories and the top seed in the Western Conference will feel like an underachievement.

And secondly, Curry needs to come close to reproducing his stats from two seasons ago, when he not only averaged 30.1 points, but joined the coveted 50-40-90 club by shooting 50.4 per cent from the field, 45.4 per cent from 3 and 90.8 per cent at the free throw line.

With as many mouths as there are to feed in Golden State, averaging 30 points again is highly unlikely. But if Curry can be nearly as efficient as he was in the best season of his career, he’ll be hard to ignore, so long as the team success is there.

Extrapolating a season’s worth of numbers based on five games is shortsighted, but Curry is already off to a great start, averaging 34.6 points on 55.0 per cent shooting from the field, 52.4 per cent from deep (on a ridiculous 12.6 attempts per game) and 90.9 per cent at the line. His 6.8 assists and 4.8 rebounds aren’t too shabby either.

Overcoming the malaise that has plagued the Warriors the past two regular seasons and the fatigue from playing in four straight NBA Finals won’t be easy, but with a few more nights like Wednesday, Curry will have everyone’s attention.

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Steve Kerr admits Warriors have work to do after last-gasp Nuggets loss

Chris Bailey 22/10/2018
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Juancho Hernangomez was the hero as his game-winning block saw the Denver Nuggets put Golden State Warriors to the sword at home in a 100-98 thriller.

The defending NBA champions fell to their first defeat of a season which isn’t yet a week old, but the unbeaten Nuggets built on their promising start as contenders for the Western Conference.

Less than a week into the season, the Nuggets top the West with a perfect 3-0 record.

Denver led by as many as 11 points in the fourth quarter, but the Warriors, led by 30 points from Stephen Curry, whittled the deficit, knotting the score at 97-97 with 1:29 remaining.

Three missed free throws by the Nuggets in the final 1:18 opened the door for the Warriors, but the visitors couldn’t take advantage.

Draymond Green had a chance to tie the game when he missed one of two free throws with 10 seconds remaining and the Warriors trailed by two on their final possession.

Curry drove to the rim, drawing two defenders, and passed to Damian Jones.

As Jones rose for the shot, Hernangomez dived in to bat the ball away from behind.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr said his team is not yet firing on all cylinders.

“We’re not where we need to be,” said Kerr, whose Warriors led by as many as 12 in the first quarter, and by two at half-time, but were out-scored 33-21 in the third period.

Kerr was pleased with the Warriors’ “competitive juice and spirit” but said their late push was doomed by sloppy play.

“We can’t expect to win every game on emotion,” Kerr said. “We’ve got to win on execution and intelligence. We’ll get there.”

A day after his impressive triple-double against Phoenix, Nikola Jokic scored 23 points with 11 rebounds and six assists for Denver.

Gary Harris added 28 points and the Nuggets forced 18 turnovers in a solid defensive effort against the prolific Warriors.

“We fought through,” Harris said. “We stuck through to the end, we played til the last buzzer.”

The Warriors weren’t the only Western power laid low on Sunday as the Los Angeles Clippers held on for a 115-112 victory over the Houston Rockets.

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Stephen Curry leads way for champions Golden State Warriors in dominant opening win

Sport360 staff 17/10/2018
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Steph Curry led the way as defending NBA champions Golden State Warriors kicked off their regular campaign with a 108-100 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

On a special night at Oracle Arena, where the Warriors were presented with custom-made reversible rings in recognition of last season’s championship win, Curry showed his class with 32 points.

Kevin Durant also weighed in with 27 points to ensure Golden State, despite an impressive start, came from behind in the fourth quarter to celebrate Ring Night in style.

The Warriors’ victory was soured by a minor calf injury sustained by sixth man Andre Iguodala in the second quarter.

Paul George, in the absence of injured point guard Russell Westbrook, registered 27 points for the Thunder.

Jayson Tatum had 23 points and nine rebounds as the Boston Celtics beat the Philadelphia 76ers 105-87 at TD Garden.

Fit-again pair Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving made winning returns to the Celtics’ side, although both appeared rusty.

Joel Embiid led the 76ers with 23 points and 10 rebounds while Ben Simmons finished with 19 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists.

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