March 1, 2021

INFRMER

KEEPING YOU INFRMED

Steph Curry answers critics, lifts Warriors with career-high 62 points in win over Trail Blazers

Arms spread like an airplane, Stephen Curry took off down the sideline to celebrate making a very Stephen Curry-like 3-pointer.

After receiving the pitch from Draymond Green, Curry jumped, leaned and shot the ball from 27 feet out, drawing contact from guard Gary Trent Jr. As Curry fell to the court, the ball swished through the basket in the final seconds of the Warriors’ 137-122 victory over the Trail Blazers Sunday at Chase Center to give him 62 points – a new career high.

This was a much-needed victory for the Warriors (3-3), who lost to the Trail Blazers (3-3) by 25 points in the first of this two-game series on Friday, and an inevitable breakout performance by Curry.

“I had a feeling it was coming pretty quickly,” said head coach Steve Kerr. “He’s looked great from the start of camp, physically, but he’s barely played basketball the last year and a half.”

Over the last 14 months, Curry has rehabbed from a broken left hand that sidelined him for most of Golden State’s 15-win 2019-20 season, isolated for an offseason while his peers competed in the NBA bubble and toiled in the early going of this season as he tried to find his rhythm and jell with a new-look supporting cast.

But in recent days, Curry had moments that brought to mind what set the two-time MVP apart during so much of his 11-year career: brief scoring spurts, made contested jumpers and, in a practice last week, setting a personal-best 105-straight made 3-pointers.

So when Curry took the floor Sunday night averaging near-career low shooting percentages of 41.3 overall and 31.8 from 3-point range, he did so inspired to get the better of Portland.

“I told [Kevon Looney] early in the game, ”Green said,“ ‘You keep screening… because he’s not passing.’ ”

Curry set the tone early with 21 points in the first quarter and 31 in the first half. With dazzling dribble moves, nifty finishes and patented pull-up jumpers, Curry surpassed his previous career-high of 54 points (at New York in Feb., 2013).

Curry’s spectacular night set a building high, taking ownership of the record from Portland’s Damian Lillard (39 points on Nov. 4, 2019), who finished Sunday with 32 points and four assists and helped lead a late comeback effort.

Lillard’s back-to-back 3-pointers midway through the fourth quarter cut the Warriors’ 20-point lead to single digits, but Curry answered with a 3-pointer of his own to keep the Trail Blazers at a comfortable distance.

Curry’s leaning pull-up jumper from 27 feet out with 42 seconds remaining put the finishing touch on his career game. Afterwards, Kerr pulled him for what would have been his walk-off opportunity in front of fans in non-pandemic times. But, playing without fans in attendance, the applause and cheers came only from his teammates.

“We just had a better energy to start the game where you can feed off of that,” Curry said. “And in this league, that’s all you really need.”




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