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Explained: How Curry turned around a poor start to drop a career-high 62 points

On way to his career night, Curry created little nuggets of history along the way, be it matching a feat last achieved by Kobe Bryant or solidifying his mark as one of the greatest shooters in the history of the NBA

Written by Shashank Nair , Edited by Explained Desk | New Delhi | Updated: January 6, 2021 8:36:34 am
Explained: How Steph Curry turned around a poor start to the season to drop a career-high 62 pointsStephen Curry of Golden State Warriors and LeBron James of Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA)

After suffering a slow start to the season and hordes of criticism on whether he could carry the Golden State Warriors this season, Steph Curry exploded against the Portland Trail Blazers, dropping a career-high 62 points in a mere 36 minutes of play. He was 18-31 from the field and 8-16 from three-point range — 18 of his 62 points came from the free throw line where he went 18-19.

With his historic shooting numbers down and the Warriors losing three of their first five games, including a loss to former teammate Kevin Durant’s Brooklyn Nets, questions were asked about Curry and whether he was capable of regaining his special touch.

How did Steph Curry’s latest season begin?

Not well by his standards. And this was mainly down to his shooting numbers. Curry, in the first five games of the season, had only made 18 of his 56 three pointers. A career 40%+ shooter from beyond the arc, his numbers were down and it didn’t help that Warriors new addition Kelly Oubre Jr was suffering even worse with his shooting.

This coupled with the absence of Draymond Green over the first few games meant that the Warriors only beat the Chicago Bulls and the Detroit Pistons but fell to the Nets, Milwaukee Bucks and previously to Portland before the repeat fixture saw Curry finally come good.

How was Curry’s play different in this game?

Death by pick and rolls – if there was one key to a strong start by the Warriors and Curry, it was the one weapon that has made them near impregnable over the years. Portland oscillates between Jusuf Nurkic and Enes Kanter at centre.

The Draymond Green-Steph Curry pick-and-roll, especially in the paint that puts a seven-foot centre in a foot race to the rim against one of the quicker point guards in the league, made many dividends in the first half. That, and Curry’s insistence on finishing at the rim with contact showed just how much the two-time MVP wanted to get out of his rut.

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Why was Draymond Green’s return key?

Draymond Green is the defensive fulcrum of the Golden State Warriors and his pick and roll with Curry has always been a devastating weapon – something that was missing as Green missed the start of the season because of coronavirus.

With the clock ticking down and Curry on 59 points, looking to end the night with a 60-point stat line, Green dished out the last of his eight assists for the night, something that Curry acknowledged in his post-game interview.

“It made so much sense that it was Draymond… knowing exactly what the situation was and where I was. For a hot second I thought he wasn’t even looking for me. But I should have never doubted it. He knew exactly where I was,” said Curry.

What records did Curry break?

On way to his career night, Curry created little nuggets of history along the way, be it matching a feat last achieved by Kobe Bryant or solidifying his mark as one of the greatest shooters in the history of the NBA. Curry scored 31 points in each half, a rare occurrence considering the last player to score 30 in two halves was Kobe Bryant in the 2005-06 season against the Dallas Mavericks.

His eight three-pointers for 24 points made on the night was the 425th time that a player has done so in the NBA. According to NBA.com stats, this was the 49th time that Curry had done so.

What makes Steph Curry a good shooter?

In a chat with the Indian Express for the ‘Wonder Why’ series, Golden State Warriors assistant coach Bruce Fraser described some of the essentials for a good shooter in the NBA and how Steph Curry ticked all of those boxes, something that was on display for all to see yesterday.

“To me, there are a few components that make a shooter great. One, is the mechanics of the shot. The second part when it comes to being a great shooter, is partly, genetics. How good is your muscle memory? How good is your hand-eye coordination? It’s not like someone has to be crazily genetically gifted, but there has to be an element of it. The last part that really makes a good shooter is the work you put into your craft. Steph Curry still puts more time into his shot that any other player in the league,” said Fraser to The Indian Express.

He then added, “Steph in my opinion could have been great at a lot of things. He could have been a great golfer – he could have been a great tennis player. He’s a gifted athlete with incredible hand-eye coordination and he chose to put his talents into basketball.”

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