The Golden State Warriors may be 51-11 on the year and well on their way to the top seed in the Western Conference. But ever since Kevin Durant went down with a knee injury in late February, Stephen Curry has been in a surprising shooting funk — particularly from deep.
Against the Bulls last week, Curry was 2-of-11 from 3-point range. Two days before that, in a loss to the Wizards, he was 2-of-9 from beyond the arc. Perhaps most shocking of all, on Monday against the lowly 76ers, Curry — already one of the best 3-point shooters in basketball history, was 0-of-11 from deep.
It had been the worst shooting stretch of Curry’s career, and during the first half on Sunday against the Knicks, Curry again couldn’t get much to go.
Then, midway through the second quarter, his head coach, Steve Kerr, gave Curry a pep talk.
During the timeout, Kerr pulled Curry aside and showed him two figures on the stat sheet: his shooting totals, and his plus-minus number (or, how many points better or worse a team is with a given player on the floor).
Although Curry’s shooting was bad, Kerr wanted to show Curry that his plus-minus rating was still stellar.
In other words, just having Curry on the court — even when his shots aren’t falling — poses such a threat to the opposition that it inevitably makes the rest of the team better.
“Carry on, my son,” Kerr told Curry as the timeout ended and he made his way back onto the court.
Curry did, and in the second half against the Knicks he rediscovered his shot — going for 15 in the third quarter alone.
He finished the game with a game-high 31 points, and the Warriors snapped their two-game skid.
“I know as a shooter sometimes, you base everything off whether your shot is going in,” Kerr said after the game, referring to his pep talk with Curry. “I just wanted to remind him that shots may go and they may not, but you’re still having a huge game.”
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