Steph Curry Struggles, Still Shines

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The funny thing about last night’s Warriors-Kings game wasn’t even mentioned in the writeups. Although the line for Steph Curry in the boxscore didn’t betray it, his shooting was lackluster and strangely errant–he missed his first eight 3s before knocking down two timely ones in the 4th. With the kind of tear Curry has been on to start the season, seeing him struggle with his shot is kind of like seeing Tinkerbell misfire her pixie dust.

That’s the thing about Curry that’s so bonkers and maddening, however; he nearly shoots 50% with clutch shooting and it’s a relative off-night. It makes ESPN’s revisionism just a little less repulsive. November 7, Stephen Curry, 8-18 shooting for 24 points–3 assists–6 rebounds–2 steals in a win at Sacramento. For a guy who makes 42 points and 9 assists (or whatever) look like a performance of leisure pretty often these days, this game against the Kings was an outlier. Still, not bad for a “bad game”, especially since we’ve been watching the elderly Kobe Bryant redefine “bad” over the first week and a half of the season.

Rajon Rondo, meanwhile, had what I assume was his first triple-double of the season, logging one of his 15 assist-12 rebound combo specialties and bothering Curry sufficiently on defense. Rondo is an expert at the quiet triple-double. I’m pretty sure he invented it. Because most are so willing to follow the regurgitated narratives of the 24-hour news cycle, it was widely believed before the season that Rondo was essentially washed-up and worthless after the fiasco in Dallas, as though his career was mirroring the fate of President Kennedy.

I, on the other hand, had theorized that Rondo would put up something like 10 assists and 6 rebounds to go with 10 points a game. In other words, I knew Rondo would be up to his customary Rondo antics. And while it’s a rather peculiar ceiling in the modern NBA, he’s been to a couple All-Star games and won a ring doing very similar things. Keep an eye on Rajon Rondo as situations around the league develop over the next couple of years!

Steph felt uninspired tonight and you can’t blame him–a November game against the Kings without DeMarcus Cousins is enough to suck anyone into the doldrums. It was sort of like watching a hungover dragon wake up before finally breathing fire in the latter part of the contest. Yes, the Kings were competitive, but the result is what everyone expected. In fact, there’s really no reason for me to be writing about this game–it has absolutely zero application in the grander scheme of things. Everyone will forget about it (until they come across this post!)

As usual, we’ll continue being thrashed about in the currents of trending opinions and narratives, ever prisoners of the moment, which is what we all want from sports anyway, I guess. The Kings actually balked on the one thing that could have made this game in any way significant, and that was playing Steph’s younger brother Seth Curry, who over the summer showed he has the shooting chops to play with anyone in the world.

Alright, let’s just take a look at Steph’s numbers over the first 6 games of the regular season:

  • October 27: 40 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds, 5 3s, 53% shooting
  • October 30: 25 points, 6 assists, 7 rebounds, 4 3s, 60%
  • Halloween: 53 points, 9 assists, 4 rebounds, 4 steals, 8 3s, 63%
  • November 2: 30 points, 3 assists, 3 rebounds, 3 steals, 4 3s, 62%
  • November 4: 31 points, 4 assists, 5 rebounds, 7 3s, 47%
  • November 6: 34 points, 10 assists, 7 rebounds, 3 steals, 8 3s, 54 %

I mean, whoa. Blistering. I didn’t even choose to make the font red, it just happened by itself. These numbers are eye-popping. They’re more than that. They’re numbers burped out of the fuming eschaton and delivered to an imaginary “oracle” whispering to Terence McKenna in a mid-80s mushroom trip. All those random hexagrams in the I-Ching were encoded, I think, to tell us about the silly stats Curry is putting up in 2015. I feel like he’s Icharus and flying way too close to the sun!

The 179 points through the first five games is the most since Jordan in ’91. He made more 3s through the first 6 games (36) than anyone ever, and it’s not even close. The only other guys to get 200 points, 30 assists, and 30 rebounds through the first six games are Jordan and Oscar Robertson. Think about that for a second! And he’s done it on percentages of 57% from the field, 51% from 3 and 92% from the line! Just a sublime string of games. The real drama of the Sacramento game was seeing Curry’s streak of 79 consecutive games with at least one three jeopardized as the game went into the 4th. Managing a 2-10 effort from distance, however, Steph is still the basketball DiMaggio.

For some historical perspective, only LeBron James, Moses Malone and Adrian Dantley have had at least five consecutive games of 60% shooting. None of those guys, however, were shooting volume 3s as Curry is. He already holds the single-season record for three-pointers made and most seasons leading the league in three-pointers made. Kobe and Donyell Marshall hold the record for most 3s in a game at 12. I’ll go ahead and predict that we’ll see that record fall this season…and it won’t be Kobe who breaks it!

It should also be noted that, although it’s very early, Curry seems to be on pace for the rare 50-40-90 season–50% composite shooting, 40% from 3, 90% from the free throw line. Only Larry Bird, Dirk Nowitzki, Steve Nash, Reggie Miller, Mark Price, Meyers Leonard, Kevin Durant and someone named Joey Wilbanks have ever achieved this plateau. Outside of an economic collapse, I’m not sure what can stop Steph from shimmy-dancing into the club. I can tell you one thing–Rajon Rondo won’t be giving him any competition there!

 

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