INDIANAPOLIS — Steph Curry grinned. Would there be a sense of relief when this is all over?
“Hell, yeah,” he said. Before he could spit out the rest of his answer, he broke into laughter. “Because I get the record.”
Curry’s pursuit of the NBA all-time 3-point record has drawn on longer than many expected. After giving into the hype last week with speculation that he could do it by hitting 16 in a game, then 10, then seven, Curry and his coach, Steve Kerr, now readily admit it’s time to get on with it. Could there be a better setting than basketball mecca, Madison Square Garden?
“Now that you’re knocking on the doorstep, it’s pretty surreal,” Curry said. “But just trying to let it happen. It’s one thing I’ve learned these last three games, is keep playing basketball, keep taking shots you think you’ll make and enjoy the experience of it because it’s a long time coming.”
Curry needs two 3-pointers to overtake Ray Allen’s career mark of 2,974. In a career dotted with achievements and accolades, the career record from distance stands above the rest. Curry said he’s thought about it “for a long time.”
Within striking distance for the third game — let’s be real about the 16 it would have taken last week against Portland — the record pursuit may be starting to weigh on Curry, Kerr suggested after Monday’s win at Indiana.
Since that Portland game, when both Kerr and Curry, with varying degrees of seriousness, fed into the possibility of making 16 3s to set the record at home, the typically efficient volume shooter has lost some of his trademark effectiveness from outside.
He has attempted 46 3-pointers over the past three games and made only 14 of them, a 30.4% success rate, well below his career average of 43.1%. (At 40.1% for the season, Curry is also on pace for his worst shooting percentage from beyond the arc of his career.)
“It’ll be a relief for him, I think, and for our team when he does break it,” Kerr said. “I just think he’s been trying a little bit too hard.”
Draymond Green agreed that Curry’s second 3-pointer Tuesday night — or whenever it comes in the unlikely scenario it is not against the Knicks — will be a welcome sight. However, he doesn’t believe he or his teammates are forcing the ball to Curry.
“I think it’s probably on his mind every shot he takes,” Green said. “Especially 3s. … I’ll be happy as hell when it’s over and he gets it. Ultimately I think he’ll end up beating the record by 1,000-plus 3s.”
It would be easier to list the games Curry has failed to record two 3-pointers (142) than the other way around (646).
As Curry’s consigliere in so many of his first 2,973 triples, Green said he’d prefer to get the assist — rather than set the screen — that leads to record-breaking No. 2,975.
“It could be a (dribble handoff), it could be a pass, it could be just Steph crossing halfcourt and pulling from the logo,” Green said. “We’ll see. I want the pass.”
The venue, Madison Square Garden, also has history for Curry. It was the site of Curry’s coming-out party, Feb. 27, 2013, when he made 11 3-pointers on 13 attempts and scored 54 points, a total he’s topped only twice since.
Informed that Reggie Miller, the former 3-point king and idol of Curry in addition to his current role as Turner Sports color analyst, would be broadcasting the game Tuesday night, Curry turned to Warriors PR man Raymond Ridder and asked, “He’s on the call? You plan this?”
After dutifully answering questions about the impending record for the umpteenth time, Curry got up from behind the microphone and walked to the popcorn machine in the back of the room, where he grabbed a couple bags of his favorite postgame snack.
“I’m just enjoying the moment,” he said. “You don’t get this again, the chase to get to the mountaintop. After that it’ll just be about how far I can push it.”