17

Stephen Curry Dominates as Warriors Top Denver 109-101 in Rare Road Win

Game story from tomorrow’s paper

You might’ve expected Warriors guard Monta Ellis, who learned Thursday he was not selected as an All-Star reserve, to have one of his captivating performances. You know, prove they were wrong.

Instead, the captivating performance was provided by his backcourt mate Stephen Curry.

The Warriors’ third-year point guard finished with 36 points in Golden State’s 109-101 win over Denver. He was 13 of 17 shooting and had seven assists, seven rebounds, two blocks and a steal with just one turnover. Golden State (9-14) snapped a two-game losing streak and got a much-needed road victory.

“You can rave about the shooting, rave about the points,” coach Mark Jackson said of Curry, “but he played the game tonight like he was in total control. … His stat line is a thing of beauty.”

With back-to-back positive performances, including Tuesday’s thrilling loss to Oklahoma City, Golden State is feeling good about their play.

Certainly, the Warriors were playing against a struggling Nuggets squad, which has now lost five straight.Denver(15-12) was missing two starters, including forward Danilo Gallinari, arguably the Nuggets’ best player. Plus, Denver was playing its second game in as many nights.

Golden State took advantage. The Warriors held Denver around 40 percent shooting most of the game. More important, Golden State outrebounded the Nuggets (41-39) and held them to eight offensive boards.

What’s more, the Warriors had 14 blocks, five by reserve big man Ekpe Udoh.

“Ekpe did an unbelievable job,” said forward David Lee, who with center Andris Biedrins combined for 16 rebounds. “He set the tone. But the biggest thing was when they drove in the second half, we had bodies there and we had guys helping the helper. … It was good that we got stops tonight.”

The Warriors didn’t start as well as they finished, however. Golden State trailed 51-47 at the half and Jackson was not happy with his club’s energy and effort. At half time, he pulled out the film and watched some clips, pointing out their shortcomings.

“Coach ripped us at halftime about our effort,” Curry said. “He got into us.”

It worked. In the third quarter, the Warriors stepped on the gas and pulled away from the Nuggets. And Curry was driving.

A 24-5 run to open the quarter seized control of the game for Golden State. The end of the run detailed how Curry dominated the game. He rebounding a missed 3-pointer by Denver’s Rudy Fernandez, pushed the ball and found Dorell Wright for an open 3-pointer. The next trip down, Curry converted a nifty left-hand layup.

After he corralled another rebound on the ensuing defensive series, Curry capped the Warriors’ run with a 3-pointer from the right wing. Golden State led 71-56 with just over five minutes left in the third.

The Warriors outscored Denver37-20 in the third quarter and took an 84-71 lead into the fourth quarter. Golden State eventually went up by 20 and led 105-85 when Jackson finally pulled the starters.

“We responded,”Jackson said. “I’ve got to give my guys credit. They came out on a mission on both sides of the basketball. We knew (Denver) was going to come in looking to get right. My guys responded. … This was a great win for us.”

********

Three guards from the Western Conference were selected as reserves for the 2012 All-Star Game. Ellis was not one of them.

“He deserved it, I think, for the third straight year,” Curry said. “If he would have made it, no one would’ve said he was undeserving. I’m sure it would’ve meant a lot to him to be selected to be an All-Star, but it won’t affect his play.”

Ellis is averaging 22.6 points and is on pace for a career-high with 6.3 assists. But his team entered Thursday in the bottom rung of the Western Conference. Ellis had better numbers the previous two years, but didn’t get in largely because of the Warriors’ losing record.

With the Warriors still losing, and Ellis’ not as mind-blowing as they’ve been, his chances of making it this year figured to be slimmer.

Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook, having a stellar season for one of the league’s best teams, was a virtual lock to be named a reserve. The other two spots went to a pair of highly respected guards: Spurs point guard Tony Parker and Suns point guard Steve Nash.

Parker is having a usually solid year (18.9 points and 7.7 assists), but it’s for a Spurs team that has the second-best record in the West. Like Ellis, Nash — averaging 15.1 points and 10 assists – is leading a sub .500 team. However, he is a sure-fire Hall of Famer with a great reputation.

“Don’t care,” Ellis said about being left off the All-Star team. “Don’t care. Different year, same thing.”

Perhaps the real snub, at least toJackson, wasn’t Ellis but rookie swingman Klay Thompson. Thursday, Thompson set a career-high with 19 points in 18 minutes.

“I’m still baffled that Klay Thompson is not in the Rookies vs. Sophomores game,”Jacksonsaid. “What you saw Thursday is not a (performance) we’re shocked at. You can’t show me (nine) rookies better than him.”

*******

The talk in the locker room after the game revolved around a surprising development at the 5:11 mark of the third quarter. Curry, after making his fifth 3-pointer, turned towards the Warriors bench, knelt a tad and gave a shimmy.

Was it a tribute to his coach, who was known for giving shimmies in his day? Was he falling and did something to play it off?

“I don’t know what got into me,” Curry said. “I looked toward coach and saw him. We had joked about it earlier how that was his thing. … I’m scared to look at (the video).”

Judging by the reaction of his teammates, he should be scared.

“He needs to keep that in the 80s,” forward Dorell Wright shouted.

Said Lee: “That was ugly when coachJacksondid it and it was ugly when Steph did it.”

Curry said it was likely the first and last time he would do it. It appears his coach hopes that’s the case.

“I tried told in my laugh and stay in coach mode,”Jacksonsaid. “Now I know why my dad told me to stop doing it.”

*******

Warriors guard Nate Robinson returned to action. He missed Tuesday’s loss toOklahoma Citybecause of a strained left groin.

He had five points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals in 11 minutes.

*******

Brandon Rush was 1-for-2 from 3-point range Thursday. He’s now knocked down at least one 3-pointer in 14 straight games, a career-high streak.

In 2010, while with the Pacers, Rush made a 3-pointer in 13 straight, between Jan. 22 and Feb. 20.

********

Curry missed three free throws Thursday night. That makes him 21 for 27 this season, 77.8 percent.

He entered the season a career 91.1 percent shooter. What gives?

As the best free throw shooter, Curry gets to shoot the technical fouls. But he’s even missed a couple of those, including one Thursday.

“I don’t know,” Curry said. “I’m doing everything the same. They just not going in. But at least I’m getting to the line to miss them. I think I just need to get into a rhythm. They might revoke my technical foul license until I get it back.”

 

Marcus Thompson

  • gizzm

    sweet win. Klay has a pure shot that is fun to watch.
    We might have 3 of the top 5 3 point shooters in the league when all is said and don.

  • PhillyJ

    good shooters without a post presence wont get you into the playoffs

  • David wood’s soul

    When Ellis drops 30+ a game it rarely leads to a W. When Curry drops 30+ a game he usually has at least 5 dimes to go with it and usually will net you a W. Same thing as last year, the ball movement is more fluid when Curry is being the aggressor, ie, the team’s primary offensive option. The team seams to overall click better as a collective when Steph plays like he did yesterday, where as when Monta is in that role Curry deffers too much and other players seem to just stand around or wait on the wings. There’s less cuts to the bucket. This isn’t Monta bashing just fact, Curry just needs to own up and run it more consistently . On a side note I’m really liking Klay ALOT , the kid just needs to smile more!

  • Dave

    Stephen Curry has had only 2 30+ games.

  • Derek

    Curry is no Monta Ellis, please do not let this game fool you. Monta is lightening fast and fearless. Curry is slow and generally passive. Too slow to ever be an outstanding point guard.

    Monta plays hard, scores, rebounds and steals. The only thing I dislike are the isolation plays that rarely work.

  • Young

    @ derek. Is curry slower than 2 time league MVP point guard Steve Nash? He might just be, but its reasonably close enough to contest the argument that Curry is too slow to be great.

    What I see is Curry is a scorer and not a point guard. Mark Jackson seems to see this too and is playing dorell wright at the 1 and letting Curry come off screens so he can score. Curry off a screen (no ball in hand) is a problem because his set shot in sick. Defenders tend to over pursue then he pump fakes or takes a dribble and basically has a set shot.

    Monta can create his own $$ tho…That’s the difference.

    Interesting thing is neither are point guards. Curry just handles and CAN pass much better than Monta.

  • Niners in 2012

    Curry beats Monta in asts, ast/to, reb, stls, and shooting %s. Monta shoots more and therefore scores more, that’s it.

  • Grey Warden

    Dorell Wright is a joke playing the 1 on a few stretches. His dribbling is horrible. He has absolutely no clue what to do if the defender doesn’t buy into his pump fake and he has to put the ball to the floor. Most of the time when he drives to the basket and doesn’t shoot, it ends up as a turnover. He has no passing vision. Please stop playing him as the 1 or letting him move the ball up the floor. When he does that, he’s a turnover waiting to happen. Stick to what he does best on offense: catch and shoot.

  • John Starks

    Monta is the only one of the top 14 scorers not to be selected to the All-Star roster.

    I know it’s not all about scoring but if Monta played for any other team, somewhat regardless of record, he’d have been an All-Star 3 times by now.

    Let the haters hate, Monta. Let’s see Steve Nash burn it up for 48 points.

  • Perry

    S. Curry and D. Lee to the Lakers gets Pau Gasol. Trade Machine accepts it and I think Kupchak and Co. accept it.

    Lakers go with:

    1. Curry
    2. Bryant
    3. Barnes / World Peace / Ebanks
    4. Lee
    5. Bynum

    Here it is:

    1. M. Ellis
    2. K. Thompson
    3. D. Wright
    4. E. Udoh
    5. P. Gasol

    Lakers probably get the better end of the stick but I think this makes Golden State into a 7 or 8 seed in the West. You still retain a pretty decent bench and the bench lengthens with the addition of the Latvian, Biedrins.

    You’re asking Ellis to go back to the 1, but who cares?…You have added one of the best low-post players in the League and you are giving your young players a chance to develop.

    I think K. Thompson is a pretty good defender. I think he’s a much stronger defender (physically with his wirey strength) at the 2 than Ellis. He uses his length and moves his feet well.

    I think L.A. will do this deal for Curry, no question about it. Defensively, he may not be a Mike Brown guy, but offensively, he would be perfect now and he would have been perfect in the Triangle under P. Jackson.

    The only thing I can’t get over is trading within the same Division. That may be the only reason why it won’t happen.

    The Gasol / Rondo scenario seems more feasible.

  • PerryB

    The Warriors are one Greg Monroe Center away from being a contender.

  • bryhsiao

    John Starks,
    If you give Nash 29 FGAs a game, I bet you that he will have 40+ points game easy.

    You do not think Curry can get 40+ easily last night, if given more FGAs ?
    Curry’s last 10games FG : 0.521 3pt%: 0.458 7.5 Asts
    Curry’s last 5 games FG: 0.574 3pt%: 0.444 9.2 Asts.
    His season average FG: 0.508 3pt%: 0.429 6.8 Asts

    Curry shot only 17 FGA last night and got 36points. Give him 12 more shots with his 50+%FG, He would easily bypass 48points (That doesn’t even include his 3 there. Just making 2s, not including more FTs either. )

    I guess Jamal Crawford should be All-Star too since he scored back to back 50s. Oh wait, he is not.

  • John Starks

    Bryhsiao,

    I don’t care if you gave Steve Nash 96 FGAs, a 6 foot rim and matched him up against my one-armed cousin. He would not score 48 points. That’s not what he does. Don’t get me wrong. Obviously, Steve Nash is top tier talent. So please, don’t try to suggest I’m saying he sucks. I’d be glad to have him.

    RE: Jamal Crawford. Jamal plays for another team that is not very popular (outside of the Portland)and hasn’t been very good for a while. I guess they’re doing OK now.

    And you make a good point that even Curry is hot enough on Nash’s heels to make a strong case for being in the All-Star game. Why are Nash and especially Nowitzki selected? Because they are popular guys who are (were) on winning teams, and definitely were not on the Warriors.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ng0jbVueFDQ Erik

    seriously, Monroe Away?

    he sucks at D, we just need to get Hibbert(4yrs/60mil) and were set.

    Curry/Jenkins
    Ellis/Klay
    Wright/Rush
    Lee/Udoh
    Hibbert/Beans/Tyler

    thats a 46-36 team right there, and will get only better.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ng0jbVueFDQ Erik

    + maybe we get that Utah pick back

    even better

    we get a backup SF (MKD OR Barnes)

    Curry/who cares?
    Ellis/Klay
    Wright/MKG
    Lee/Ekpe
    Hibber/scrubs

    one man can dream

  • robert rowell

    #11 the W’s are one monroe and four other 2 way starters away from being a contender.

    nice win, but it’s hard to feel up beat about this team. they shot a lot of jumpers, as usual, they just hit more than the law of averages says they should. they’ve had a cupcake schedule and couldn’t take advantage of it. still, it’s a win, we’ll see if they can string a few together.

  • Harp’s Dubs

    @Perry – Where you been, my friend?!? Your proposesd trade is interesting, but doesn’t help us long-term at all. We’d be much better blowing this team up now, with an immediate look to next year as a young, good team with room to grow and crazy salary space.
    How about Lee, Monta and Biedrins (all our big money deals) to Washington for Rashard Lewis, JaVale McGee and their first round pick.

    Washington does it because it gives them a potent 1-2 backcourt in Wall/Monta. It allows Vesely to get more playing time. It gives them Lee and Blatche up front (they’re interchangeable at the 4/5 in the center-deprived East). They become relevant once again and actually might be good enough to make the play-offs next year.

    Wizards:
    PG – Wall/Mack
    SG – Ellis/Young
    SF – Vesely/Singleton
    PF – Lee/Seraphim/Booker
    C – Blatche/Biedrins/Turiaf

    We do it because is sheds major salary after next year (Lews’ massive contract is up in 2013), retains Curry, adds McGee, assures us of keeping out top 7 protected pick this year (because we’d suck) and gives us Washington’s lottery pick this year.

    PG – Curry/Robinson/Jenkins
    SG – Thompson/Rush
    SF – Lewis/DWright
    PF – Udoh/McGuire/CWright
    C – McGee/Tyler

    Getting McGee and re-signing him, keeping Tyler and signing Kwame Brown to another 1 yr. deal soldifies the center position. Sullinger from Ohio State would be a great lottery pick at the 4. If we could somehow get Harrison Barnes from UNC or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist from UK with the other lottery pick, then we’d be the next OKC Thunder, with a great core of Curry, Thompson, Barnes/MK-G, Sullinger and McGee.