We’ve all seen Stephen Curry shoot lights-out, and we’ve all seen him take over a game with three after three. But what we haven’t seen yet is his ability to close out games in the clutch, and take the next step in his development.
Well, we saw that tonight.
Curry’s heroics down the stretch led the Golden State Warriors to a 95-93 comeback victory over the Dallas Mavericks at Oracle Arena on Wednesday night.
Curry scored 16 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter, as the Warriors (13-10) overcame a 12-point deficit in the final 10 minutes. Down six with 1:25 remaining, Curry completed a four-point play, and Golden State seized the momentum. After a turnover by the Mavericks (13-10), Curry set up Draymond Green with a nifty lefty-handed pass, and Green knocked down a three to give the Warriors a 93-92 lead. Then in the closing seconds, with the ball and a chance for the win, Curry got Shawn Marion to bite on the pump fake, and hit a jumper from the right elbow to win the game.
It was the Stephen Curry show tonight for the Warriors, but it didn’t start out that way. In fact, Curry did not score in the first quarter as both teams got off to an ugly start. Golden State managed just 16 points in the first as it shot 25 percent from the field and committed seven turnovers. The Warriors found themselves down 55-44 at the half before turning things around in the second half.
Tale of the Tape
- Field Goals: 43.0% (37-86)
- 3-Pointers: 42.9% (12-28)
- Rebounds: 50
- Assists: 20
- Turnovers: 18
- Foul shooting: 60% (9-15)
- Field Goals: 42.0% (37-88)
- 3-Pointers: 34.8% (8-23)
- Rebounds: 43
- Assists: 24
- Turnovers: 11
- Foul shooting: 78.6% (11-14)
No Business Winning
The Warriors honestly had no business winning this game. They played an awful first half, followed by an ok second half. The Mavericks were in a position that they wanted to be in: up by a few baskets late in the game, with the ultimate closer in Dirk Nowitzki ready to do his thing against smaller defenders in Green and Harrison Barnes.
But you can never count the Warriors out of a game. Not with their electric shooting, and not with Curry on their team. What’s frustrating about this game is that the Warriors showed that they can play their style of basketball and compete against any team, yet the several games this season have seen them getting off to slow starts and having to make a late comeback bid.
Tonight’s game would have followed a similar fate, had Curry not stepped up big .
Somewhere, Joe Lacob is smiling.
Monta Ellis scored just three points in the fourth quarter. He missed a free throw that would have given the Mavericks a one-point lead with under a minute remaining, and with the game tied under half a minute to go, he missed a jumper. Twenty-one seconds later, Curry knocked down the game-winner.
And that, my friends, is why the Warriors traded Monta Ellis.
The spotlight will be on Curry on Sportscenter, but both Green and Andrew Bogut had stellar performances tonight as well.
Bogut finished with six points, two blocks, and 18 rebounds, doing exactly what he is paid to do. Which makes Lacob look even smarter.
And where would the Warriors be without Green? In 28 minutes off the bench, the second-year forward had nine points, five rebounds, four assists, and was tied for the team lead with a plus-minus rating of +5. Most of Green’s contributions won’t show up on the stat sheet, but he was a huge reason why the Warriors were able to grind out a victory.
It would not be a surprise to see Green get more playing time in the future, and perhaps even start in place of the struggling David Lee.
According to the Let’s Go Warriors fan blog, head coach Mark Jackson “could be hear screaming at the team through the walls” during halftime. Before halftime, Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle saw Curry punch a chair on his way to the locker room.
Perhaps the Warriors used that anger to fuel their comeback. When the final buzzer sounded, it was celebration time at Oracle.
What’s on Tap
The Warriors will take on the Houston Rockets on Friday and hope for better results than the last time these teams met a week ago, when the Warriors fell 105-83 in Houston.