When Stephen Curry walked toward the touchline Friday night after completing his post-match interview with ESPN, Diamond Green threw the game ball for him.
Curry had just wanted the Golden State to win 115–105 over the Clippers at Chase Center. On a night the Warriors trailed by as much as 22 points, they showed resilience, riding Curry’s brilliance to their fifth win in seven games.
Along the way, Golden State was reminded of how closely its fortunes connected the face of the franchise. That team is 0-4 this season when Curry failed to score 30 points and 5-0 when he crossed the 30-point mark.
“I think our guys just got stuck there,” said Steve Kerr, coach of the Warriors, whose team beat the Clippers 65-40 in the second half. “They conserved their energy. They kept their spirits up. They were pumping each other on the sidelines. It felt like we were on the ropes, but we got stuck and that’s what matters.”
After scoring 14 points in the first half, Curry flashed his signature joy, using a combination of spectacular dribbling and a three-headed transfer to finish with 38 points on 13 to 24 shots, 11 assists and three steals. With just over a minute left, he tied the ball twice between his legs, stepped back, placed 25 feet above the defender’s outstretched arm for his ninth season indicator, and flatly nodded as he chewed on his mouthguard.
In those moments, when Carrie is at his best, the antagonists have little escape. However, what makes Curry’s trademark spells so daunting is that they tend to open the floor for his teammates.
After scoring 13 points in the 18-3 round in the 3:15 final of the third quarter to reduce the Warriors’ 21-point deficit to 87-81, he watched from the bench as his lesser-known counterparts gave the Golden State six goals. Point pillow. This was the type of performance that helped the team believe it could exceed expectations.
After losing their first two games of 65 points, the Warriors heard critics suggest they would be tied for the lottery without Clay Thompson for the second consecutive season. Now, as the Golden State sits above .500 after defeating a potential title contender, it believes it is only just beginning to realize its potential.
“We’ll be good,” striker Eric Baschall said. “We just have to keep getting better.”
Over the past two weeks, even after the blast losses, Kerr has talked about how his team has the intangibles – camaraderie, diligence, and persistence – that define most of the winners. The problem was, the newcomers take some time to adjust to Curry’s heavy style.
After a total of 92 points in wins over Portland and Sacramento, Curry managed to skip 13 points in Wednesday’s loss to the Clippers, only to regain his dynamic ways when it was even more important against the Los Angeles team itself on Friday. His tournaments in the third quarter were marked enough to fill an important reel. After watching Curry hit a quick pointer with three pointers from Kent Bazemore feeding to enter fourth place, his teammates looked more daring.
Paschal, who finished with 12 points from the bench, helped the Warriors advance early in the fourth quarter by defeating his defender from dribbling over and over again. Andrew Wiggins scored 16 points to help the Golden State beat a 2-for-7 night shooting by Kelly Uber Jr.
Although the Warriors struggled badly at times in defense, they shot 20 to 41 from a range of 3 points. Not surprisingly, nearly half of those who made the three-pointers were Curry.
To compete in a loaded Western Conference this season, Warriors need to play at the MVP level. Friday reinforced his desire to be a little selfish if that meant a Golden State victory.
After receiving the game ball from Green, Curry handed it over to Warriors point guard Fred Cast, who was retiring after 57 years. The guy recounting Golden State history was coming up with a familiar scene: Carrie’s Big Night Record.
“It’s kind of amazing snaps that he can do,” Wiggins said. “He can score with basketball, but he’s just as deadly. That’s what makes him so special.”
Connor Littorno is a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: email@example.com. Twitter: Embed a Tweet