San Francisco… Stephen Curry failed to score a basket.
After shooting from everywhere in the first half of the season and picking up the MVP conversation, Curry entered the fourth quarter Wednesday night with a 120-112 win in overtime over the Miami Heat and already set a personal record for most missed shots in a three-point game. Curry has played 47 games in his career and lost at least 15, according to statistics and news reports from ESPN, but this is the first time he has only touched two. The rhythm that made his season was not there – but as always in his career, Curry always found a way to make the best shots of the night when it mattered. A crucial 28-yard setback, a three-pointer in regulation game time and eight points in overtime helped the Warriors erase a 19-point deficit and secure perhaps their most impressive victory of the year.
That’s why he’s so great, said Andrew Wiggins, the Warriors’ hustler. That’s why he’s one of the best basketball players. The ability to make a tough first half, but come out of it with the same attitude and take control of the game when it needs to be picked up again, and on the straight and narrow make one move at a time. That’s why he’s like this.
On a night when the Warriors were playing without their emotional leader Draymond Green, who had to be replaced just minutes before time because of an ankle injury, and faced the continued absence of James Wiseman (wrist) and Kevon Looney (ankle), it was Curry who continued to work hard at the most important times – even after missing so many shots early in the game.
I probably took five bad ones, Curry said. I’d say everyone was on the rhythm of dribbling or catching and shooting in broad daylight, but I wasn’t there. So the knowledge and confidence is huge, and the understanding that I’m going to find the right rhythm, the right look, and take a big dive. And fortunately this happened at the end of regulation and then at two in extension. I tried not to think about percentages during the game, if you know what I mean: I missed 17. This doubt can sometimes strike, you have to throw it away and shoot with confidence and keep shooting.
With the score tied at 109 and 1:15 minutes left to play in the extension, it was Curry who scored a 3-yard hat trick and gave his team a lead they didn’t want to let go. With 17 seconds left, it was Curry who fired in the three points, making his way to the bench with a bang (and eliciting a tweet of encouragement from his wife).
– Ayesha Curry (@ayeshacurry) February 18, 2021
His ability to shoot terribly and run the game is no surprise to those who have witnessed his performances over the years.
This is so typically Steph, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. He is the kind of player and person who can be in the middle of one of his worst nights of the year and still hit three huge pitches to help us win the game. So a really good team won and had a lot of fun.
Curry’s ability to heat up at the right time has been one of the cornerstones of the Warriors’ entertainment season, and it’s one of the main reasons the organization believes they can win games no matter who else is on the court. No matter what he’s missing, they think he’ll be fine for the most important thing.
When you have a guy like that who believes in you and gives you that confidence, you feel like you can do anything, said Warriors guard Kent Bazemore, who scored 26 points. That’s what he is. He thinks less and less of himself and is always trying to educate those around him, and that’s fine. He has instilled confidence in many players in the locker room during their ups and downs … is a great leader to have.
The fact that Curry won the game after playing 42 minutes made the victory all the sweeter for a team that begins a four-game East Coast opener in Orlando on Friday. Curry’s late run reminded his opponents how overwhelming his talent can be. His shot mentally shattered a Heat team that was used to letting other teams fade away.
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Friday, February 19.
– Bulls v 76, 7:30 p.m. on ESPN
– Mavericks v Rockets, 8 p.m. on ESPN
– Jazz v Clippers, 10 p.m. on ESPN
Saturday, Feb. 20.
– Lakers warm-up, 8:30 p.m. on ABC
I just think he didn’t just build his body and his skills over the years, Kerr said. I think he has a brain. And he has such a strong will that he will not be influenced, and he knows that the law of averages will work. He’s so confident in his shot that he keeps shooting. For the same reason, he shoots three quarters of the way through the remaining time. He doesn’t care about the percentage. He really thinks he can make that shot, so he does. And even though he’s had a rough night, he still believes the next one will follow. He has an incredibly strong self-confidence.
No matter how bad things started out, Curry never doubted that he would be able to turn things around. He relies on the work he puts into his game – and that carries over to the rest of the Warriors team.
If you play enough and have enough experience, you know what it’s like to feel a little lost when your shots aren’t falling, Curry said. And you know how to react mentally and what you can do to keep your confidence and persevere…. it’s bread and butter after a while…. I’ve been shooting since I was nine. You should be able to figure out how to get away with poorly made shooting games.
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