Forget All-Star, Stephen Curry Is a Superstar
Then again, he doesn't have to. He's letting his play do all of the talking.
While the Golden State Warriors have stumbled their way through a 3-8 stretch over their last 11 games, Curry holds no fault for the team's lethargic play.
He entered Wednesday averaging 22.2 points, 6.8 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game over last 10 outings.
Then, he unleashed an offensive explosion against the New York Knicks (albeit in a 109-105 Warriors loss) with the type of game players seem to save for the bright lights of Madison Square Garden: career-high 54 points, 18-of-28 from the field, 11-of-13 from three (leaving him one shy of the single-game record for most made threes), seven assists, six rebounds and three steals.
His All-Star snub has never looked worse:
Has there ever been another player who had that season's high in single-game points but didn't make the All-Star Game?— Bethlehem Shoals (@freedarko) February 28, 2013
He played all 48 minutes, still finding enough in his legs to score 16 points, snare three rebounds and dish out three assists in the game's final period. It still wasn't enough to offset the absences of David Lee (suspended) and Andrew Bogut (back), not when the other four Warriors starters managed a paltry 13 points on 6-of-22 shooting.
But it was clearly enough to bolster Curry's growing stock around the league.
Plagued by a nagging ankle injury that first appeared in the 2010-11 season, then effectively destroyed his (and the Warriors') 2011-12 season, Curry's finally getting a chance to prove what he can do when healthy.
His shot was never a question (he's flirted with the vaunted 50/40/90 shooting line throughout his career), but Wednesday's performance was unlike anything he'd shown before.
Certainly, the Warriors hadn't seen anything like it in recent memory:
Win or lose, this is one of the greatest individual single-game performances in recent Warriors history.— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) February 28, 2013
For that matter, neither had the rest of the league:
Steph Curry is up to 54 points. Last player to score 54 in a game: Deron Williams who had 57 on 3/4/12.— NBA Guru (@NBAGuru) February 28, 2013
When Curry's on fire, he's one of the toughest flames to extinguish in the NBA:
Even Man Vs. Food wouldn't touch a Curry this hot.— Sean Grande (@SeanGrandePBP) February 28, 2013
It's incredible for Warriors fans to think how close they were to never seeing his career materialize. He was the seventh player selected in the 2009 NBA draft, and the fourth guard to come off the board (after Tyreke Evans, Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn).
The fact that he was even available at the seventh spot didn't sit well with fans lamenting the missteps of their franchises during Curry's performance:
Zirin (@EdgeofSports) February 28, 2013
Aschburner (@AschNBA) February 28, 2013
But, as fate would have it, Curry did fall into Golden State's lap on draft night. And that's one of the biggest reasons that the Warriors could be headed to the postseason for just the second time since the 1993-94 season.
Even as he raises the bar for where his career could go, though, Wednesday night's loss was a reminder that he can't win games by himself. As was his 38-point effort in another Golden State loss on Tuesday night, that one a 108-97 defeat at the hands of the Indiana Pacers.
Losses by both the Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets maintained the Warriors' two-game cushion for the sixth seed in the Western Conference. But with only six games standing between the Warriors and the 10th seed Portland Trail Blazers, Golden State can ill afford a lengthy losing streak like the six-game streak that bracketed the All-Star break.
Curry's going to give his team a chance to win every night.
But the real key to the Warriors' playoff hopes will be the ability of his teammates to turn these gaudy individual efforts into wins.
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