Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

Stephen Curry had the look of a man who’s had just about enough Saturday night. The Draymond drama. The 12 losses in 16 games. The shock-jock questioning of his leadership, however ridiculous such a take sounds to anyone with a halfway level head. Even his own mini slump that had seen him miss 21-of-28 3-pointers over his previous two games. 

Seriously. Enough. 

Curry poured in 37 points in a 124-120 win over the Nets, putting his foot completely down with 16 points over the final six-and-a-half minutes on a perfect 7-for-7 fourth-quarter shooting. He made six of his eight triples. He recorded a career-high three blocks. 

He danced on poor Cam Thomas. 

He bombed from the 30, then kindly informed the Nets they needed a timeout.

He guided in whatever kind of shot you want to call this:

Don’t tell this guy it’s December. After the buzzer sounded, Curry stomped around roaring like the Warriors had just won a tight playoff game. If this all sounds like a bit much for a four-point win over a .500 team, at home no less, you’re not wrong. Golden State’s long-term prognosis, at least as currently constructed, still looks grim. 

But Curry needed this. The Warriors needed this.

“Steph’s been through a lot the last few days, with the Draymond news,” Steve Kerr said. “He’s had to carry this team, let’s be honest, for the first quarter of the season. We just haven’t been able to build momentum and find lineups that were clicking. So he’s carried us. And then the Draymond news. I think [Curry] was emotionally spent the last few days.

“It was a slow start tonight [for Steph],” Kerr continued. “It didn’t look like he had it. And then, as he’s done so often, he flipped the switch. You can kind of see it when it happens, right away. He was incredible. And that’s what we needed. We’re in a bit of a rut, and your best players have to get you out of that.”

Kerr’s right. Curry has shouldered an extremely disproportionate load for the Warriors this season. They’re still barely treading water, but he’s the only reason they haven’t already drowned. In that sense, this rut, as Kerr calls it, that the Warriors are in? They’re still in it. Curry is going to go Superman from time to time. If it requires such a performance to beat a mediocre team at home, suffice it to say, the good feels will be short-lived. 

The good news is Klay Thompson might be catching a little groove. Since getting benched in closing time against Phoenix less than a week ago (a move that registered legitimate shock waves, even if Thompson’s performance had long merited a demotion), Thompson has scored 54 points on 12-of-21 3-point shooting over his last two games. 

Andrew Wiggins, now coming off the bench, provided big minutes and buckets on Saturday, while Wiggins’ replacement in the starting lineup, rookie Brandin Podziemski, was awesome — as he has been for some time now — with 19 points and four triples. 

Moses Moody, who was really starting to roll for a minute, played just 12 minutes. If Thompson is on his game, Moody just isn’t going to get consistent minutes. It’s tough. He’s a good player. 

The Warriors still need a trade. Who knows how long Green’s indefinite suspension is going to last, but he’s not going to be back any time soon. Even when he does come back, he’s no savior. Golden State has to find Curry some real scoring help unless you think this Thompson stretch is a sign of things to come. 

Personally, I don’t. I think we’ve seen enough from the post-injury, clearly aged Thompson to say with a fair amount of certainty that he’s going to be a hit-or-miss guy. Right now, he’s hitting. 

But when the misses show back up, Steph is going to be on his own again. Hell, even with Klay and Steph being hot on the same night they barely beat the Nets. 

Yeah I know, Green wasn’t playing. At this point, it’s ridiculous to act like even the full-strength Warriors are anything more than a play-in-level team, give or take. Their starting lineup, once a bona fide basketball tornado, has been a doormat all season. 

All of this is to say, don’t make too much of Saturday night. It was one win against a mediocre team, and it took a lot to get it. But they got it. And right now, Steph Curry and the Warriors will take whatever they can get. 

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