In a major contrast to Tuesday’s Golden State Warriors performance against the Lakers, Curry sparkled when others failed to fire.
In a seesaw battle throughout the second half, the two-time MVP stamped his authority, scoring eight of his 45 points in the last two minutes to lead the Warriors to a 115-113 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.
It was sloppy and, at times, hard to watch, but the Golden State Warriors have Stephen Curry and for this game, that’s all that mattered.
His stamp began in the first quarter, in the way only Curry can do it.
But even for him, it was nigh on ridiculous – 25 points on 9-9 shooting including 5-5 from three-point range. When the Clippers cooled off in the closing minutes of the quarter, Curry’s burst had opened up a 44-27 lead after the first 12 minutes.
The second quarter started positively enough, a signature Andre Iguodala steal and slam gave the Warriors a 59-40 lead with 6:48 to go. But in what seemed like a flash, a Paul George burst of his own, mixed with some sloppy Warriors turnovers and missed free throws, led to a 27-7 run and a Clipper lead at halftime.
The second half ebbed and flowed, but when a Justise Winslow layup gave the Clippers a 98-90 lead early in the fourth, the Warriors looked in trouble. Over the next five minutes, they wrestled back the momentum with a 12-0 run, fuelled by birthday boy Damion Lee‘s eight points.
The plucky Clippers weren’t done with though, a tough Marcus Morris three giving them a 107-105 lead with 2:45 to go. Curry responded with his signature deep three, before Eric Bledsoe again put LA in front with a layup
Curry wasn’t done with, a Lee handoff in transition saw him knock down the final of his eight three-pointers to put the Dubs up two with just under a minute remaining.
Some staunch defense and no Clipper timeouts led to a failed prayer from George, whilst on the other end, Andrew Wiggins found Iguodala who found Draymond Green for a layup, putting the Warriors up four.
That was short-lived as George nailed a three to cut the lead to one with 6.3 seconds remaining. Curry calmly sunk two free throws and on the inbounds pass, Kevon Looney deliberately fouled Ivica Zubac with 3.7 left on the clock.
He made the first free throw before deliberately missing the second, a frantic final few seconds saw time expire and the Warriors hold on to move to 2-0.