- Stephen Curry scored a career-high 62 points on Sunday.
- Curry’s game came amid social-media discussion over whether he is an elite NBA player.
- After the game, Curry referenced a Michael Jordan meme from “The Last Dance,” saying he took the criticism personally.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Stephen Curry on Sunday reminded the NBA world that he can light up a scoreboard.
Curry scored a career-high 62 points on 18-of-31 shooting and 8-of-16 from three-point range, to help the Golden State Warriors beat the Portland Trail Blazers, 137-122.
Curry’s eruption came amid social-media discussion over whether he was no longer one of the NBA’s elite guards. The retooling Warriors entered Sunday’s game 2-3, and though Curry was averaging 26 points per game, his shooting percentages were down, and he wasn’t willing the team to wins.
Curry heard the chatter. Speaking to reporters after Sunday’s win, Curry referenced a meme from “The Last Dance” in which Michael Jordan said he took criticism and doubts about his game personally.
“Cue the Jordan meme, right?” Curry said. “I take all that personally.”
Curry hinted that he had used the criticism as motivation.
“I don’t get frazzled too easily and am very confident in who I am as a person,” Curry said. “As a basketball player, there’s not going to be anything you can say about me or to me that’s going to affect that. At the end of the day, that’s how I got here, and I got a lot of people in my circle that understand what makes me tick, and how much I enjoy this game and all the different challenges you get to experience having been around 12 years-plus.”
It was the type of explosion that fans and opponents hadn’t seen from Curry in a while. Curry played just five games in the 2019-20 season due to injury, and then the suspension for the coronavirus pandemic. With the 2020-21 season starting late, it had been a year-and-a-half since Curry last scored 40 or more in a regular-season game â€” his last coming on April 5, 2019.
Curry was aggressive from the get-go, using his elusive dribble and hesitations to shake defenders before launching quick shots.
Warriors forward Draymond Green told reporters that he recognised right away that Curry was in a different zone.
“I could see it from the very first possession … Something’s going on. He’s shooting the ball. It was great to see, though. He came out looking like a man on a mission. And that was right up there with one of his best performances that I’ve witnessed.”
By the second half, Curry was launching the type of audacious shots that he’s become known for.
His final basket for 62 points was a heave in the final minute that sent the Warriors bench into a frenzy.
Warriors rookie centre James Wiseman told reporters that Curry’s hot streak reminded him of “NBA 2K.” He called Curry a “legend.”
“It’s crazy,” Wiseman said. “It reminded me of 2K because I used to play with Steph all the time, and I used to drop like 60. So just like actually watching it personally, that was phenomenal. He’s a legend.”
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