MIAMI — There's a sound that you hear when you cover the Miami Heat.
You just don't usually hear it here.
It's a collective hush... a sound of dread.
That's the sound that follows LeBron James on the road, and rises in volume whenever he gets rolling.
That's the sound that is starting to trail Stephen Curry around the country, too.
That's the sound that reverberated through AmericanAirlines Arena just about every time the Curry touched the ball in Thursday's second half, on his way to 36 points in the Golden State Warriors' 123-114 victory. And every time he raised.
That's the sound center Andrew Bogut is hearing wherever the Warriors go.
"Just the way he shoots the ball, you do," Bogut said. "When he's making shots like he is tonight, I think you can hear the hushes on our bench. Sometimes, we even catch ourselves doing the same thing."
And so, you need to catch this act in an arena near you, especially while Curry's brittle ankles are intact. With all due respect to Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and an eclectic mix of electric others, Curry—now No. 6 in jersey sales—is the second-best show in the sport at the moment, versatile, combustible and nearly unguardable. The Heat blitzed him early, attempting to crowd him on every pick-and-roll, and he casually picked them apart with deft passes from either hand.
"I was able to move the ball and get guys in their spots to make plays," Curry said. "David [Lee] was catching the ball at the post, and at the elbow and making plays."
Lee was on his way to 32 points on 13-of-17 shooting.
"David was killing," Curry said. "So they had to make an adjustment and I was able to find some daylight, make a couple shots in transition."
As the Heat stepped away, just a smidgen, Curry started stepping into his lethal jumper even more often. After scoring 14 points (including 4-of-5 from deep) in the first half, he tallied 10 in the first 3:40 of the second, extending a four-point Warriors lead to a dozen.
"Some of those shots that he hit early in the third quarter, before our first timeout, we shoot those shots, those are bad shots on this team," Dwyane Wade said. "Pull-up on the break, 1-on-3, those are bad shots over here, but those are great shots for him, he made them."
Curry did, and then kept making them. Made them with Wade, as the Heat star put it, "in his jersey." Made them with James swooping in. Made them with Norris Cole's arms high above. Made them off crossovers. Made them off screens. Made them with the slightest sliver of space. Made them when they mattered, sealing the deal from the left corner off a touch pass from Klay Thompson, for the 32nd, 33th and 34th of his 36 points.
"I thought I missed it, actually," Curry said of that final fling. "I held my follow-through a little longer, and I think did the patented Paul Pierce move, where he takes a step and follows his three, because I thought I rushed it. Definitely was a big shot and Klay made a great pass, and it all started with D-Lee drawing attention on the strong side. That’s kind of an example of how our spacing has been a lot better of late and we are able to use the weapons that we’ve got on the floor."
With one above all.
"I looked at the stat sheet at one point, he was 7-for-13 from the 3-point line, and I was 7-for-12 from the field," James said. "I was like, oh, shoot."
That's the appropriate word. Shoot, shoot, and keep shooting.
That's what his coach, Mark Jackson, wants.
"He has the green light," Jackson said. "I’ve been a player, fortunately in this league, 17 years. So I’ve been coached and also watched teammates and opponents. The best results come when guys don’t have to look over at making a mistake or taking a bad shot. Because that’s gonna come. The last thing I want is Steph Curry worried about taking a bad shot."
Better that opponents worry about him taking any shot.
"If you can find a better shooter than him right now, especially with the way he handles the ball, and the light that he has—it’s more than green, it’s like fluorescent," James said.
Well, sometimes it blinks.
"When I’m out there, time and score is pretty much the only thing he’s worried about," Curry said of Jackson. "The second-to-last three I took tonight might have been a little suspect, but I made a couple already tonight, so I felt it was a good shot. But when we need to milk the clock in certain situations, and one pass, shoot, or something like that, he’ll get on me."
But, on nights like this, there's little for the Warriors to do but get on his back.
And little for even the best opponents to do but get over it.
"He's a guy you can win with, and win big with," Shane Battier said.
"He's obviously one of the greatest shooters in this game, and he hasn't even started yet, he's early in his career," Wade said. "There's nothing you can do. It's tough. He's special. And that’s why that team has a shot to come out of the Western Conference, because of his ability to pass with both hands, and the way he shoots."
With a shooter like that, James said, "You just hope that they miss, and it's one of those nights. It wasn’t tonight, though."
No, it was a night that Heat fans felt what so other fans do:
Did Curry hear it?
"No, I'm locked in on the court," he said. "I can hear it sometimes afterwards, but I’m so focused on that moment myself, that it doesn’t really faze me."
It's their fear, not his, and for the sweetest shooter, it's the sweetest sound.