OAKLAND, Calif. — Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry became the first player in NBA history to knock down eight or more 3-pointers in three straight games, after he hit nine in Wednesday night’s 147-140 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.
“When Mark Jackson said [Curry] was ruining the game, I know a lot of people took that personal,” Warriors All-Star forward Kevin Durant said. “But I kind of got it a little bit, because he’s the only person I’ve ever seen that can shoot those shots in rhythm like that and make them. And now everybody else think they can, and you can’t. And that’s why I shake my head, because once in a generation, once in a lifetime type of talent and movement. His movements out there are just so smooth, it makes it look so easy. So when he’s knocking down those shots it’s just a joy to see.”
Curry, who finished with 41 points, started off slowly while picking up three early fouls, but he came to life in the third quarter, going off for 23 points and hitting seven of his eight 3-point attempts, many from far beyond the arc. When told of Curry’s accomplishment, Warriors coach Steve Kerr was surprised another MVP hadn’t done it first.
“James Harden didn’t do that?” Kerr said. “He did everything else.”
Like everyone else around the league, Kerr marvels at the shots Curry is able to knock down each night.
“I can’t say that nothing he does surprises me anymore, because tonight, that might have been the most unbelievable stretch,” Kerr said. “In terms of the difficulty of the shots. I’ve seen him get hot obviously a million times. I’m looking forward to watching the tape, because it seemed like … it looked to me like they were all about six, eight feet beyond the 3-point line with a guy [who had] a hand in his face. It’s insane what he does.”
All of Curry’s attempts were contested Thursday night as he finished 9-of-17 from 3-point land, the most contested makes and attempts he has had all season, according to ESPN Stats & Information. His seven consecutive 3-pointers in the third quarter tied for the most consecutive 3s he has ever made in a game, according to Elias Sports Bureau. It’s a feat he has accomplished two other times in his career.
While the rest of his teammates and coaches just shake their head at Curry’s brilliance, the proud guard doesn’t seem surprised by his success, given how much work he puts in on a daily basis.
“Sometimes when you get hot like that, you really don’t see anything but the rim,” Curry said of his third-quarter performance. “And you just try to stay on balance and get to your spot wherever that is. These are shots I work on. I have confidence in them. I know my teammates do.”
In the midst of another epic Curry performance, the Warriors and Pelicans also set a new NBA record for most made 3-pointers in a game with 43. That mark is two more than the Warriors and Sacramento Kings achieved in a game on Jan. 5. The Warriors finished 24-for-49 from beyond the arc, tying a franchise record set on Oct. 29th when Klay Thompson set an NBA record with 14 3-pointers. The Warriors are the first team to score at least 140 points or more in back-to-back games since the Denver Nuggets did it in November 1998.
“It’s kind of a pickup game out there,” Kerr said. “It really is. I’m more like the director at the YMCA than I am a coach. I’m just like, ‘You guys are shirts, and you guys are skins, and go play.’ But that’s kind of the game these days. You try to get them organized, but all our focus is just playing together and playing hard.”
Durant acknowledged that even he’s a little surprised with just how many 3s are going up all over the league the past few seasons.
“It’s just the name of the game,” Durant said. “I think with the way we play, we play so fast, you got to keep up. And I think a lot of teams have been keeping up with us, knocking down 3s this year. More GMs are trying to find shooters to put on their teams, around their big players that can penetrate.”
The difference for the Warriors, as it has been on so many other nights over the years, is that they have Curry. This game marked the 23rd time in the past five years that Curry has scored at least 20 points in a quarter. The next closest is Harden, who has done it 15 times. The game also marked the sixth time already this season that Curry has scored at least 40 points in a game.
“Just incredible,” Thompson said of Curry’s performance. “To pull up off the dribble like that from 30-plus feet is insane. We’re witnessing greatness.”