Just in case anyone forgot, Stephen Curry reminded everyone Monday night he’s still in a class of his own with a basketball in his hands.
Curry delivered another performance for the ages by becoming – at 33 years old — the oldest player in NBA history with 50 points or more and 10 or more assists in a game. He also joined James Harden as the only two players in the last 40 years to score 50-plus points with 10-plus assists in a game, while playing 35 or fewer minutes.
This latest Curry flurry boosted the Warriors’ NBA-best record to 9-1 after a 127-113 victory over the Hawks and further served notice he and his teammates are for real.
It didn’t matter that the Warriors’ two-time MVP hadn’t scored more than 20 points in a game in four straight games for the first time since 2014. Or that Curry’s relatively slow start led to career-low shooting totals of 43% on field goals and 37% on 3-pointers. Strangely enough, it was inconsequential that Draymond Green came into Monday’s game with a higher 3-point shooting percentage (37.5%) than Curry’s.
One could just sense it was time for Curry to shine as he matched up against Atlanta’s Trae Young, his would-be replacement someday as the NBA’s best shooter. One person, in particular, clearly saw this coming.
In a quintessential example of Game recognizing Game, WNBA superstar Candace Parker correctly predicted what Curry would do Monday night.
Steph is gona have 50 tonight…. Anytime you play against a young protégé you gotta let ‘em know
— Candace Parker (@Candace_Parker) November 9, 2021
“Steph is (gonna) have 50 tonight….Anytime you play against a young protégé you gotta let ‘em know.” Parker tweeted minutes before the game.
Curry never dares to envision those big nights. But he’s happy to roll with them once they start happening.
“You never come out with a certain number in mind, but when you get it going, just keep going,” Curry told reporters after the game.
Curry’s path to his latest “50-piece” featured 14-for-28 shooting, including 9-of-19 on 3-pointers, to go along with 10 assists and three steals in 35 minutes. His 13-for-13 effort from the foul line increased his NBA-best free-throw percentage to 98 percent.
By the time Curry left the game to a standing ovation late in the fourth quarter, he had also joined Wilt Chamberlain and Rick Barry as the only players in Warriors history to achieve the 50-point, 10-assist feat. At 33, Curry edged the then-31-year-old Wilt as the oldest NBA player ever to accomplish it.
— Isiah Thomas (@IsiahThomas) November 9, 2021
“It doesn’t get old, for sure,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of watching Curry go off once again. “He was amazing. I want to say I’ve never seen anything like it but I’ve been watching it for seven years, so I have seen something like it and still it’s just incredible to watch.”
It did get a bit old for Young and the Hawks, who were left seemingly helpless to stop the Curry barrage.
“The fact that Steph got that many open looks is crazy,” Young said. “He’s the best shooter of all time.”
It’s also sometimes easy to lose track of Curry’s accomplishments, so here are more reminders of how Monday’s showing added to them:
- It was Curry’s 10th career 50-point game, with the Warriors going 8-2 in those games.
- His season-high nine 3-pointers marked his 35th career game of nine-plus 3-pointers. No other NBA player has more than nine.
- His +31 plus-minus made him the only player in the last 25 years to have 50+ points, 10+ assists and a plus-minus of +30 or better in a game.
- His 13 made free throws and attempts were both season highs.
To further illustrate Curry’s incredible career arc, consider that his “career low” shooting percentages on field goals and 3-pointers prior to the game were still better than the career numbers of the much-heralded Young, who shoots 43 percent on fields goals and 34 percent on 3-pointers.
Just like Kerr, Warriors players are accustomed to the Curry Show.
#30 / #Thirty is really really really nice! (We call him 30 btw….)
— andre (@andre) November 9, 2021
“Obviously when you have one of the Top 75 … Top 50, Top 25, Top 10 players to ever play the game … When he gets going, it’s a special thing,” said Damion Lee.
Gary Payton II hasn’t been one of Curry’s teammates for long, but he already knows the drill.
“When he’s going, we know it, DubNation knows it,” Payton said. “We just try to get stops and when he’s open, feed him.”
And the rest becomes (more) history.