After the game, an emphatic fist pump, Warriors point guard Stephen Curry — as he does after he hits a 3-pointer — patted his heart twice and pointed to the heavens. The record was his.
He knocked down his second 3-pointer of the night at the 6:49 mark of the second quarter. That put him at 270 3-pointers for 2012-13, the most ever in a season. The previous mark was 269, set by then-Seattle guard Ray Allen in 2005-06.
CURRY: “I was nervous, to be honest with you. I had butterflies. It was like the elephant in the room. That first shot I took was a heat check, just to see what was going on tonight. After that, it was trying not to press, just let it come. But it was hard to keep it out of my head. It was a big relief when that last one went in.”
Curry missed his first two from deep. But then he hit the record-tying 3-pointer at the 6:55 mark of the first quarter. He dropped in an open look from the right wing after coming off a screen. He missed a 3-pointer a few minutes later, a contested look on a step-back attempt from the right side.
He checked out with 2:20 left but he was back in to start the second quarter. He came off a screen and had a wide-open look from the top of the key. But he rimmed it out at the 11:23 mark.
But with just under seven minutes left, Jarrett Jack pushed the ball as Curry hustled to the right wing. Jack eyed him the entire way. Curry squared up and caught the pass. He hesitated a bit, but with his trademark quick release he got it of before Portland’s Victor Claver could get there. Bucket.
CURRY: “I was just so happy to get it out of the way so I could focus on the game, because it was hard to do both, to be honest with you.”
So the new mark is 272. (By the way, that also means he’ll donate 816 insecticide-treated bed nets to protect hundreds of families from malaria-carrying mosquitoes.)
After the game, while holding the game ball secured for him by Richard Jefferson, Curry let down his guard and for the first time expressed some emotion about the record. Up until this point, he had kind of brushed it off when asked about it, acknowledging the possibility for a second before he’d make it clear he was focused on winning.
But with the record in tow, an appreciative and humbled Curry waxed nostalgic.
CURRY: “Watching Ray Allen shoot in shooting drills when he played with my dad in Milwaukee, I’ve got an appreciation for how well he shot the ball for his career. Especially that one season. My teammates helped me all the way, setting screens all season and running our offense. It was a pretty special moment for everybody.”
Curry didn’t see it, too busy breathing a sign of relief, but his teammates went bananas on the sideline when he hit it. Their excitement was still evident after the game.
ANDREW BOGUT: “It’s a cool thing to be a part of that, especially for me since I set a lot of screens to get him open. I love getting Steph open with a good screen. I know he’s going to knock it down if he’s wide open nine times out of 10.”
MARK JACKSON: “It took a lot of hard work. A lot of dedication and commitment. Guys getting him open and making plays. Collectively they celebrated it. He’s a special guy, so it was well deserved. When an unselfish player achieves a record like that, everybody’s into it.”
Curry only needed two after hitting 16 3-pointers his last two games: nine on Friday at the Los Angeles Lakers, and seven on Monday at home against San Antonio.
He finished 4 of 11 from 3-point range on Wednesday. Still, Curry finished the season shooting 45.3 percent from 3-point range. That is ridiculous considering he took a league-high 600 3-pointers.
For a little perspective: 19 players took at least 400 3-pointers this season. Only five shot above 40 percent: Curry, Klay Thompson, Randy Foye, Kyle Korver and Danny Green. Of those 19, only Korver (45.7) had a better percentage than Curry, but he took 186 fewer 3-pointers than Curry.
Not impressed? How about this: Since the 1979-80 season, when the 3-point shot was added to the NBA, 50 players have taken 500 or more 3-pointers in a season. Curry had the highest percentage of them all. And some celebrated shooters are on the list. Peja Stojakovic (44.1), Mitch Richmond (43.7), Ray Allen (43.4), Reggie Miller (42.7), Dennis Scott (42.5), Kyle Korver (40.5).
MARK JACKSON: “The run he’s put together, the season he’s had, it’s been a thing of beauty. To witness it first hand has been a pleasure.”
Curry said he didn’t think breaking the record was possible. Not until the Lakers game. Before that, Curry needed 17 3-pointers over the final three games. But when he got done lighting up Staples Center with nine 3-pointers, he was just eight back of the record with two games to play. Then he could taste it.
Now, he can own it. The son of a noted NBA shooter, Curry can now claim the greatest 3-point shooting season in NBA history. He has taken over the family business and lifted it to new heights.
CURRY: “I’m going to cherish it man. It’s a special thing.”