The MVP is still up in the air, but for most it’s come down to Stephen Curry and James Harden. The latter didn’t play on Thursday night, but the former certainly did and his hyper-efficient performance helped the Warriors to a 116-105 win over the visiting Blazers. Golden State still hasn’t lost three games in a row this season and sit atop the entire league (64-15) with three games left in the 2014-15 campaign.
Curry was magnificent in the win, out-playing fellow All-Star, Damian Lillard, who had a bit of a homecoming at Oracle Arena (Dame grew up in Oak-town). After breaking his old NBA single-season record for three-pointers in the second quarter, Curry finished with the first half with a ho-hum 22 points as the Dubs came back in the second to take a 57-54 advantage into the break.
He was even more incredible in the fourth quarter, though, scoring 19 points on a perfect 7-for-7 from the field and 2-of-2 from deep. Of that final session, he said after the game: “Finally played a fourth quarter, so I wanted to get out there and make some plays.” He’s already sat out 17 fourth quarters this season since the Dubs are blowing people out with the largest margin of victory in the Association.
He finished 17-of-23 (or 73 percent) on the night, and — unlike a lot of high-scoring guards these days — he also dished 10 dimes, getting his own offense in the flow of Golden State’s cut-heavy schemes. Then again he’s also just pulling up and doing his thing from beyond the arc, like this final three to put the cherry on top of his MVP performance in the win:
There’s simply no accounting for that silky jumper. Curry now has the two best seasons for three-point shooting in NBA history, and he’s connecting on 44.2 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc despite attempting over eight of them a game. That’s the third best percentage from deep in the league while attempting more three-pointers than anyone else in the Association! Plus, he’s No. 3 in the league in player efficiency rating (27.9), ahead of Harden (26.9), and sixth in the league in assists per game (7.7) despite only playing 32.8 minutes per game.
Steph is just having one of those years, an MVP year, something his coach can attest:
When asked about Curry’s performance Thursday night, coach Steve Kerr said, “Nothing left to say, except he’s the MVP. He never talks about it, but you better believe he wants it.”
We think he’s the favorite after last night, but there’s still a few games left for James Harden to persuade voters otherwise. And you never know whether Steph will get another opportunity to actually play in the fourth quarter again.
Statistical support via Basketball-Reference.com and NBA.com/stats.