The Golden State Warriors did rout the Los Angeles Clippers 132-102. They did outperform the disappointing Clippers without their two highest scorers in Monta Ellis and Corey Maggette. But there was only one story that will resonate around the Bay Area sports world tomorrow: Stephen Curry and his first triple-double of his NBA career.
"It means a lot. It’s my first one ever. I give credit to God for getting me into this position," Curry said. "My teammates, we were playing together tonight. It was a lot of fun out there."
Curry, with his outstanding showdown, has officially booked himself as a guaranteed leader position and a future Warriors franchise player for years to come.
With Ellis sidelined after spraining his left knee against the Dallas Mavericks on Feb. 8, Curry looked like a franchise player for the 46 minutes he played. The 6'3'' rookie point guard finished with 36 points, 10 rebounds, and an astonishing 13 assists. He became the first Warriors' rookie since Chris Webber in 1993 to record a triple-double.
With every minute Curry played, Ellis seemed an afterthought for the dismal franchise. Only tonight did Curry emerge as the leader this team desperately hoped for when he fell into their laps in the 2009 NBA draft.
Curry ran the team like a true professional, constantly getting all his teammates involved, and seemed to be more of a season veteran with Baron Davis hanging all over him in certain instances of the game.
He had more freedom, and he produced effectively.
But more importantly, however, Curry had a statement night without Ellis' presence on the court. It was a powerful response directed towards Ellis, and only Ellis.
Ellis, who stands as the sixth best scorer in the NBA at 26.2 PPG, persistently dominates 80 percent of Warriors' possessions—bringing the ball up the court, calling a play (a screen-and-roll 90 percent of the time), and ends up taking a bad shot—characteristic of the fact that only low basketball I.Q players possess.
With one of the rare nights in which Curry got to put on his jersey knowing that Ellis and Maggette would not suit up to play, he seized the opportunity like it was his last. It was possibly the first time since the departure of Davis to the Clippers two summers ago that a Warriors' fan partially felt that the team had a real point guard to build around.
Ellis kept talking about being a point guard but has failed to shut his critics down. With only one game, Curry might have potentially kicked Ellis off the Warriors' roster and made an initial move, signaling a major future overhaul of this franchise.
Sooner rather than later, Ellis will be traded.