SAN FRANCISCO — With Steph Curry, anything is possible. But with each subsequent misfire it became clearer that a new 3-point king would not be crowned Wednesday at Chase Center.
Airfare will now be required to witness history.
It was not for a lack of effort on the part of Curry, who hoisted 17 attempts from deep — making six for a game-high 22 points — in a 104-94 win against Portland, the Warriors’ (21-4) final home game for almost two weeks, all but guaranteeing Curry’s record-breaking shot will come on the road.
Curry entered Wednesday needing to break Klay Thompson’s single-game record (15) to reach Ray Allen’s all-time mark of 2,973; he’s now within nine, a total he has hit in a game 38 times in his career.
The crowd was riding with Curry every time he touched the ball, and the lifeless play on the court didn’t give the home fans much else to get excited about. He started the game with a contested airball from the corner; it at least got better from there.
“I thought Steph took a couple quick ones early, maybe he was trying to get himself going,” coach Steve Kerr said afterward.
Wednesday’s matchup took on a different tune than most of the Warriors’ showdowns with Portland in recent years. Damian Lillard, an Oakland native and one of Curry’s primary contemporaries, was ruled out with an ongoing abdomen injury, and Portland was without its other backcourt star, CJ McCollum.
It quickly became apparent that not only would this not be a record-breaking night, the fans at Chase Center also weren’t in for the typical gun-slinging affair between Western Conference foes. Golden State struggled to hit from the field (17-of-50 — 34% — first-half shooting), while Portland couldn’t hang on to the basketball (11 first-half turnovers).
“I actually thought we played a great first half; the ball just wasn’t going in,” Kerr said. “When the when the ball doesn’t go in, it’s hard to get momentum it’s hard to get the crowd into it and it felt like at that point, it was more just you know, let’s let’s grind it out and let’s win the game.”
Portland entered Wednesday night allowing more points per possession than any team in the NBA; at 47.6%, opponents were making shots against the Trail Blazers at the second-highest rate in the league.
Yet, the Warriors managed only 102 points on 33-of-83 shooting (39.8%), despite scoring 118 points while making 54% of their shots in their first meeting last month. It took required free throws in the final 2 minutes for the Warriors to eclipse 100 points, a mark they’ve been held below only once this season.
Golden State never trailed — its third end-to-end win of the season — but it took until the fourth quarter before the Warriors held a lead larger than 10 points.
Otto Porter Jr. acted as the Warriors’ lone hot hand, hitting four 3-pointers after halftime to finish with 15 points. Kevon Looney, who made the most of his opportunities close to the basket, added 11 points and six rebounds.
After a five-game stretch where he shot 50% from distance, Porter had only made one of his seven attempts the past two games and sat out another. Kerr said Porter was “due.”
It wasn’t Curry, but the Warriors needed only one hot hand to overcome a dud against an undermanned, overmatched Portland team.
“It’s going to be very rare that everybody’s off,” said Poole, who added 20 points on 5-of-14 shooting (and 8-of-9 from the foul line). “To be as consistent of a shooter as he is, that’s huge for our team. But we also have D Lee and Belli and Wiggs and Steph. Klay’s coming back. So we have a lot of shooters.”
Besides Porter and Looney, however, no Warrior connected on half his attempts from the field; without their contributions, Golden State was limited to 27 baskets on 67 shots, a 35.8% success rate.
Curry was emboldened but humbled early, firing from the corner with a man in his face only for the shot to fall to the floor.
With six 3-pointers on 17 attempts, it was merely a “routine” night for the Warriors’ shooting star, Kerr said.
“I don’t think I ever did that in my entire career one time,” Kerr joked.