Y'know, for a second there, after he'd missed his sixth straight 3-pointer without a make, it kind of seemed like Stephen Curry was having an off night against the NBA's opening week darlings, the Philadelphia 76ers, on Monday night. It didn't seem to matter that much, what with Andre Iguodala having an out-of-body offensive experience and all, but still, it felt like a somewhat underwhelming performance by the Golden State Warriors' star point guard. And then you look up, and there's a minute left in the third quarter, and he's got 18 points, 12 assists, 10 rebounds and five steals.
No, for real — check it out:
It was the second triple-double of the 25-year-old sniper's career and the first since his rookie season, when he put up 36-13-10 in a 30-point win over the Los Angles Clippers. On that night, though, he played nearly the whole game (45 minutes, 47 seconds) for coach Don Nelson. On Monday, he logged just 29:13.
It would've been even less, with the Warriors leading by 30 points for most of the quarter and cruising toward a 110-90 victory that dropped the 76ers to 3-1 on the season. But with Curry stuck on nine rebounds late into the frame, coach Mark Jackson decided to leave his star in as a token of his appreciation.
"He's done everything right for me and put me in position to be a successful coach, and it was a way of saying 'thank you,'" Jackson said after the game.
After Curry snagged his 10th board with 57 seconds left in the quarter and the Warriors up 33, though, Jackson yanked his sharpshooter for good. The only Golden State starter to see action in the fourth quarter was Iguodala, who played just 20 seconds before Jackson pulled the plug on his 32-point night, which saw the former Sixers star shoot 7 for 11 from 3-point range to go with three rebounds, three steals and three assists, including the leader in the clubhouse for Assist of the 2013-14 NBA Season thus far.
Mere hours after earning Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors, 76ers rookie Michael Carter-Williams experienced his first real NBA struggles, being blanketed by Warriors wing Klay Thompson, held to 4 for 17 shooting from the field (including a 1-for-7 mark from deep) and forced into six turnovers against four assists in his first big-league defeat.
"I made some careless turnovers, a couple of tipped passes on careless mistakes on my part," Carter-Williams said after the game. "You know my shot was not on. I was trying to make plays and take an open shot. As a basketball player, you have to do that: Stay confident on your off nights."
And maybe, if you're lucky, those "off nights" will turn out as well as Steph's did.
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