- Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.
SAN FRANCISCO — Steve Kerr has run out of superlatives to describe Stephen Curry’s brilliance.
After watching the two-time MVP pour in 45 points in a 115-113 win over the LA Clippers on Thursday night, Kerr was left to discuss an unbelievable Curry performance one more time — a display that included two game-defining 3-pointers in the final two minutes to help secure the win.
“Steph Curry was just Steph Curry,” Kerr said. “There’s never been anybody like him. Those last two 3s were ridiculous.”
Curry’s outburst, which came a day after Golden State’s season-opening win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night when he went just 5-for-21 from the field, didn’t surprise any of his teammates, but those last two 3-pointers left many inside Chase Center in awe. The first triple, from 31 feet away, came with 1 minute, 54 seconds left in regulation and gave the Warriors a 108-107 lead. The second one, from 27 feet away, came with 57.7 seconds left and gave the Warriors a 111-109 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
It was a performance those close to him knew was coming after such a poor shooting night against the Lakers.
“He didn’t miss a shot today in shootaround,” Warriors forward Draymond Green said. “So we kind of knew it was coming. But he could have missed every shot in shootaround, and I still would have known it was coming. He’s an incredible player.”
What made this particular showcase even more impressive was that Curry started the game 10-for-10 from the field, including 9-for-9 in a 25-point first quarter. Curry finished 16-for-25 from the field, including 8-for-13 from beyond the arc, grabbed 10 rebounds, dished out an assist and turned the ball over six times in 38 minutes.
The confidence he has in his game, and in his shot, never wavers. Curry said he always believes the next one is going in no matter how poorly he may have played the game before.
“It’s earned confidence from the work you put in,” Curry said. “It’s always a message of next shot’s going in or the next game’s going to be a good game because I try not to dwell on it too much. Even laughing at that question — I don’t even know what Staples does to me when I’m shooting the basketball. Who cares, move onto the next one. You play enough games, you figure out the ability to turn the page really quickly.”
While many of the Warriors have grown accustomed to Curry’s talent, Kerr said a couple of members of his new coaching staff, including assistant coach Jama Mahlalela, couldn’t quite believe what they were seeing Thursday night.
“Jama came up to me after the game, he said, ‘This may not be new to you guys, but [DeJan Milojevic] and I were just talking’ — this is their first time with the Steph Curry Experience,” Kerr said. “They were just blown away. And even though we’ve all been here watching it, I’m still blown away. There’s never been anybody like him. Not just the shooting range but the competitiveness, the guts, just an amazing, amazing player. What a game he had.”
Green, who has seen plenty of Curry’s greatest hits in person, summed up his teammate’s latest scoring explosion with historical context.
“I expect all of them to go in regardless of how ridiculous some of them are that he decides to take,” Green said. “I still expect them to go in because he makes those ridiculous ass shots and that’s what he’s done over the course of his career. That’s why he’s become who he’s become. That’s why he’s great. That’s why he’s one of the top players in this league and one of the top players ever to play this game. A tough shot taker and a tough shot maker.”
That Curry’s latest memorable effort came on the day he was named to the NBA’s 75th anniversary team wasn’t lost on him.
“Honestly, it’s an amazing honor,” Curry said. “It’s something I never dreamed of in terms of — I remember watching the Top 50 list and the interesting jackets they had, just the names that you saw on that night, think about 25 more. The last 25 years and what it’s meant, so to be on that list, it’s amazing. Especially while you’re still playing. It means a lot in terms of what you pour into the game and what I feel like I have left.”
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