Two hundred and seventy-three.
Stephen Curry is chasing after a lot of numbers during the 2013-14 season, including a single-digit number between one and eight that will give his Golden State Warriors a spot in the Western Conference playoff picture.
But when we're talking about three-point shooting, 273 is the one that matters most.
After all, that's one more than the number of triples he buried during the 2012-13 campaign when he broke Ray Allen's single-season record by a mere three makes. And with 198 to his credit heading into the Dubs contest with the Dallas Mavericks on March 11, Curry is within striking distance of his own record.
It'll be tough, but he might be able to get there.
Thus far, the Golden State sharpshooter has played in 61 games to rack up those 198 three-pointers, which gives him an average of 3.25 makes per contest. If he continues on that current pace, one brought down by three consecutive outings with only a single splash from downtown, 273 won't be within reach.
Making 3.25 triples each game means that it would take 84 outings to hit that crucial 273rd shot, and only regular-season contests count for these purposes. Curry could certainly get to the mark by the time the postseason was finished, but that would render his seasonal total irrelevant. If postseason play counted, we'd also have to include the 42 he made during the Warriors' 12-game playoff stretch in 2013.
Additionally, Curry has already missed time this season.
While he's played 61 games, the Warriors have played 64 and accumulated a 40-24 record.
Now there are two ways you could look at this:
- Curry will remain healthy throughout the rest of the season, finishing with 79 games to his credit.
- Curry will continue along the same pace he's currently at, finishing with 78 games.
A single contest might not seem like it can make much of a difference, but it does when we're talking about such small margins. Had Curry not played in the final game of the 2012-13 regular season, he'd have four fewer three-pointers and would trail Allen's all-time record by a single make.
Right now, Curry isn't exactly the very picture of health.
"It was getting kind of worse and worse, especially if I sat down for an extended period of time, it got a little stiff," the point guard told the Associated Press (via ESPN), referring to his strained right quad. "It's tolerable. There's just a potential for when that muscle fatigues for other things to creep up, and that's what we're trying to avoid."
The report also reveals that Curry would play limited minutes "for the foreseeable future," though, there's no telling what type of restrictions would be in place. Fortunately for devout chasers of history, the Dubs are close enough to slipping out of the playoff picture that a complete shutdown is unlikely.
As CBS Sports' Matt Moore writes:
He's not far enough into the playoff positioning to be able to sit Curry down, but he (Mark Jackson) needs to make sure his point guard is healthy for a playoff run. It paints Jackson into this corner where a less-than-healthy superstar has to play under minute limits to keep himself as healthy as possible without just focusing on getting healthy.
Nonetheless, the lingering injury makes 78 games a safer assumption. And due to the decreased playing time and the potential for a maintenance day, it's still a risky one.
So that gives us a new question—will Curry be able to make 75 three-pointers in 17 games?
In order to accomplish that goal, the baby-faced assassin would need to spend the rest of the season making 4.4 triples per contest. An insane outing in which he drilled 10 of them would do wonders, because that's an absolutely historic rate for anyone, much less an injured player who has already shouldered a lot of offensive responsibility throughout the season.
To put that in perspective, Basketball-Reference shows that no one has ever averaged 4.4 three-pointers per game over the course of a season. Not even one of those players who sneaks in because he only played two or three games.
On to the next question. Has Curry gone through a stretch this season in which he made 75 triples in 17 outings?
He's come close, knocking down 66 over that lengthy a stretch. The relevant portion of the season came from Jan. 17 (a 6-of-10 outing from downtown against the Oklahoma City Thunder) through Feb. 24 (a 3-of-9 performance against the Detroit Pistons).
But that's his best stretch, and it's still not good enough. Then again, we might not want to give up on him so fast.
Heading into his final 17 games of the 2012-13 season, Curry was averaging 3.2 three-pointers made per contest. Yes, that's slightly less than he's making this season, though, you have to go to the second decimal place in order to see the difference.
Over those last games, though, Curry flat-out exploded.
Even with an 0-of-5 outing thrown into the mix, the sharpshooter averaged 4.4 triples per contest, making exactly 75 three-pointers, though, he only needed 72 to break Allen's eight-year-old record.
Essentially, Curry is being tasked with replicating the closing stretch of last season. Except this time, he needs to do so during a year in which he's connected with less efficiency and is playing with a strained right quad that might limit his minutes and ultimately prevent him from reaching 78 games played, which was also the magic number last year.
If anyone is capable of beating those odds, it's this particular Davidson product.
However, Curry is only a dark horse to break his own record. While a possibility of it falling to No. 2 on the all-time leaderboard does exist, chances are, it will remain untouched until the Golden State floor general gets another crack at 273 in 2014-15.