Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry has had as ideal a regular season as a player can imagine. He led All-Star voting in his second season as a starter, is the most essential player on the team with the NBA best record, and looks like a fairly safe bet to bring home the MVP award in a few weeks. He's popular, part of a winning squad, and pretty darn great all by himself.
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Curry can now add another accolade to his electric 2014-15 season after breaking one of his own records in the second quarter of Thursday night's game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Oracle Arena. With just under 4:30 remaining in the half, Curry pulled up in transition and knocked down his 273rd three-pointer of the year, topping the mark of 272 he set in 2012-13. Take a look:
Not content to settle for the new record, Curry knocked down another triple less than a minute later:
These shots were part of a tremendous first half for Curry, who 6-of-10 three-point attempts and 8-of-12 shots overall to put up 22 points in only 19 minutes. The onslaught continued a recent hot streak for Curry, who has now made at least five long-range shots in seven of his last 10 games. He has not done so just by hoisting a lot of shots, either — Curry had made at least half his three-point attempts in eight of nine games before Thursday's matchup with Portland.
Yet that tremendous first half was somehow less fantastic than Curry's second half. He added 23 points after the break for a game-high 45, his second-highest total of the season, in the Warriors' 116-105 win. The efficiency was more remarkable — Curry shot 17-of-23 from the field, 8-of-13 from three-point range, and 3-of-3 from the line with most of his buckets coming in spectacular fashion. If the MVP race was open before this game, it sure looks closed now.
While Curry has now eclipsed his previous record, he has done so with more attempts overall on the season. In 2012-13, he needed 600 attempts in 78 games. Curry's record-breaking basket on Thursday came on his 621st attempt of this season. Yet these are still both pretty great — for comparison, Ray Allen set the previous record of 269 threes in 653 attempts in 2005-06 for the Seattle SuperSonics. Plus, defenses appear more focused on Curry now than they were two years ago despite the Warriors being more balanced overall.
The primary difference, though, is that 2013's record-breaking felt much like a culmination of Curry's season-long ascent to stardom, whereas this time it's just a single stop on what he, his team, and its fans hope will be a long journey to an NBA title this June. Head coach Steve Kerr has played Curry and other notable Warriors more than anticipated since the team clinched the West's No. 1 seed in late March, but it's clear that Curry wasn't out there in pursuit of an individual accolade. We will judge his season on the basis of the team's finish, not his three-point tally.
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