Stephen Curry put together one of his finest performances Wednesday night, putting up 51 points on 68% shooting while going 11-16 from three-point range, as the Warriors beat the Wizards 134-121.
What’s even more impressive is that Curry accomplished this feat relatively quickly — he played just 36 minutes and dumped in 25 points in the first quarter alone.
The climax of his game-opening explosion came on a broken play off an inbounds that Curry turned into another dazzling highlight.
After a Draymond Green layup, the Wizards inbounded the ball quickly to try to push the pace. As they got the ball to John Wall, Curry managed to tip the pass, creating a scramble for the loose ball. Wizards forward Jared Dudley dove for it, momentarily stealing it from Curry, but as he did so, he popped the ball into the air. Curry then grabbed it out of mid-air, collected himself, turned around, and took a shot.
And he did it from 28 feet out.
No other player has this kind of licence to shoot. But Curry has earned it.
As ESPN Stats noted, Curry shot 6-8 from shots from 27 feet out Wednesday night, and he is now 50-99 (50.5%) on those shots for the season. The rest of the NBA is shooting 24% on such attempts.
It’s been said before, but the NBA simply hasn’t seen a player like this. Curry’s shooting ability alone is historic, but when combined with his ball-handling and his range, it creates a one-of-a-kind player. As former NBA coach Doug Collins noted on the ESPN broadcast during the game, Curry’s balance and his ability to calmly collect the ball then shoot it shows off a different kind of athleticism than the NBA is used to seeing.
Curry dazzled all night, showing off all of the above-mentioned skills.
The NBA is still trying to solve the Stephen Curry riddle.