Steph Curry saves Warriors with masterful 50-point Game 7 performance
Curry saves Warriors with unbelievable performance vs. Kings originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
SACRAMENTO – With Klay Thompson’s shots banging off rims, Jordan Poole marginalized by ineffectiveness and Andrew Wiggins fading in the second half, it became evident Sunday that only one set of hands could be trusted to pull the Warriors from a miserable fate.
Stephen Curry would again be tasked to do what he has done so many times before. Meet the big moment when others do not. And, once again, the 35-year-old, in his 14th season, delivered.
Curry scored a game-high 50 points, including 14 in a pivotal fourth quarter and 16 more in the pull-away fourth to drag the Warriors to a 120-100 Game 7 victory over the Sacramento Kings and into the Western Conference semifinals against the Los Angeles Lakers.
“We all take him for granted because he’s brilliant night after night and we’ve been watching this for 10 years,” coach Steve Kerr said. “We just have to remind yourself every once in a while, big picture, this is one of the great players in the history of the game.
“That’s how I felt back in my playing days about Michael Jordan. You see it night after night, so you just took it for granted.
“That’s how it is with Steph. It’s over and over and over again. The resilience and the work that goes into that, the focus, it’s incredible to watch.”
Curry not only spared the Warriors the indignity of being ousted in the first round of the NBA playoffs but did so as the oldest dude on the court. He was the person most responsible for Kings fans moping out of Golden 1 Center midway through the fourth quarter.
Curry deflected the praise he had earned while simultaneously acknowledging he drove a stake through Sacramento’s postseason dreams.
“We got some good looks to open up the game and that allowed us to connect our offense and defense together,” he said. “We say that a lot and that’s a big part of who we are and how we were successful. So, for me, it was just about being aggressive in that scheme and being as consistent as possible.
“Obviously, I got up 38 shots for a reason because we started to see where the holes were and I could be ultra-aggressive, you get looks and it worked.”
That particular description – “worked’’ – is an understatement. While Thompson (16 points, 4-of-19 shooting), Wiggins (17, 5-of-16; 2-of-10 in the second half) and Poole (eight, 3-of-9) were combining for 39 points on 12-of-44 shooting, Curry was blow-torching every defense Sacramento coach Mike Brown could devise to throw his way.
“It’s the best, especially when you have an off night yourself,” Thompson said. “On the team, no one really shot it particularly well except for Steph. There’s a reason he’s a two-time MVP and a Finals MVP because he pushes over the top in moments like this. When he’s a zone like that, you try to just get him to his spot, get him the ball and get out of the way.
“What an incredible performance. This is a Game 7 I’ll forever remember as the Steph Curry game.”
Curry shot 20-of-38 from the field, including 7-of-18 from deep. As if being the first player to put up 50 points in a Game 7 was not enough, he added eight rebounds and six assists while committing only one turnover.
“It takes laser focus,” Draymond Green said. “He knew everything that he wanted to get to burst their defense and he got to it. He actually missed a couple of shots that he probably would love to get back and still had the night that he had. But it takes a special person to show up in an environment like that and do what Steph did.”
When so much of this game seemed on the edge of descending into disarray, Curry operated with the sangfroid of a veteran surgeon, staying connected on defense, and directing traffic on offense. He seemed to be playing at a different speed than everyone else, somehow quick yet deliberate.
As most of the Warriors were foundering through the first half, missing 19 of 30 shots from the field, Curry was keeping them within range by making 8-of-15, including 4-of-9 from beyond the arc for 20 points in 18 minutes. That was enough for Golden State to go into the locker room trailing by two, 58-56.
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Curry’s determination was visibly fierce after halftime. Eyes narrowed, lips pursed, jaws set, he, along with Kevon Looney, set a refuse-to-lose tone that flipped a close game into a decisive victory. Curry’s 14 points in the quarter, along with Looney grabbing 10 of his game-high 21 rebounds in only seven minutes, lowered the volume in the building.
“It was a group effort, but shout out to Steph,” Thompson said. “What an incredible all-time performance, to go for 50 in a Game 7. It’s just a joy to share the backcourt with him, and he never ceases to amaze me.”
The Warriors dynasty lives on, at least for now, because Curry emphatically ensured it would.
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