Logan Murdock

How Steph Curry played in back-to-back vs. Rockets, Spurs in NBA 2K sim

How Steph Curry played in back-to-back vs. Rockets, Spurs in NBA 2K sim

Editor’s note: With the NBA season halted over coronavirus concerns, Warriors fans have unanswered questions about the team and how it’s building toward the future. To provide answers, NBC Sports Bay Area will simulate some previously scheduled Warriors games through NBA 2K, mixing video-game results with real-life insights for our coverage team.

A number of tests needed to be passed for Steph Curry to be fully integrated back into the Warriors' lineup. Among them was how Curry would play on the road during a back-to-back.

In the virtual world of NBA 2K20, he flourished under the circumstance, leading the Warriors in blowout victories over the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs.

Over the two-game stretch, Curry accumulated 71 points while shooting 60 percent from the field. During the first game of the Texas Two-Step, Curry exploded for 45 points against the Rockets, including 18 in the third quarter, helping the Warriors beat Houston 110-93. A night later, he added 26 points, as the Warriors handily beat the Spurs 108-100.

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Curry's digital outburst came during a unique time for the guard. After missing three months with a broken hand, the former MVP played his first game back from injury March 5. As Curry approached his return, Warriors coach Steve Kerr expressed caution when asked how he'd bring his star guard back into the fold, making the virtual back-to-back uncertain. However, Curry pushed back on the notion of sitting out games down the stretch.

In any case, Curry's digital availability worked out for his newest teammate Andrew Wiggins. Alongside Curry, Wiggins scored 36 points against the Spurs, including 18 points in the first quarter. Nearly two months ago, Wiggins was acquired in large part due to his perceived fit alongside Curry. In their lone real-world experience playing together, the duo combined for 62 points. If virtual play is any indication, Curry and Wiggins are adjusting well to each other's games.

[RELATED: Remembering Warriors' five most memorable playoff moments]

While the two-game stretch was promising, it might not be realistic. Entering league suspension, the Warriors were the worst team in the league, even with Curry on the active roster. While Curry's 2K play was encouraging, he'd still be playing without Klay Thompson, who was going to miss the rest of the season rehabbing a surgically repaired left knee. Additionally, Wiggins' propensity of inconsistent play could hinder a team trying to find rhythm heading into next season.

But as we've found out over the years, Curry makes any team he's on better, whether in actual or virtual reality.

NBA Draft 2020: Why LaMelo Ball doesn't fit Warriors with shortcomings

NBA Draft 2020: Why LaMelo Ball doesn't fit Warriors with shortcomings

Editor's note: As the Warriors prepare for the 2020 NBA Draft, during which they will have a lottery pick for the first time since 2012, NBC Sports Bay Area will present a twice-weekly series spotlighting two players expected to be evaluated. This is the fourth of a 12-part series over the next six weeks.

As the draft's biggest conundrum, LaMelo Ball's potential is just as polarizing as his current shortcomings. For all his potential as a scorer, his shooting percentage is subpar. For all his potential as a playmaker, his turnover totals in an inferior league give NBA scouts pause. For all his potential, his father, LaVar Ball, may have the power to mess it all up.

Nonetheless, as an 18-year old, 6-foot-7 point guard, he may have the highest ceiling in the draft.

Ball's journey is different than other prospects have traveled. After playing two seasons at Chino Hills High School, Ball briefly played in Lithuania and for LaVar's Junior Basketball Association before playing at the SPIRE Institute, a prep school in Ohio, for his senior season. That stint in Lithuania plus his association with his father's Big Baller Brand put his NCAA eligibility in question. With the NCAA unlikely to clear him, Ball elected to forgo college and instead play in the Australian National Basketball League.

In his lone season with Illawarra Hawks of the NBL, he averaged 17.0 points, 7.6 rebounds and 6.8 assists before a foot injury ended his season. Against the Zealand Breakers, he scored 25 points, adding 12 rebounds and nine assists against another projected top 10 pick in RJ Hampton. Nearly two weeks prior, he finished with 17 points, six rebounds and six assists against the powerhouse Sydney Kings, a team featuring former Warriors big man Andrew Bogut.

Ball's strengths include his scoring, rebounding and feel for the game. As a high school sophomore, he scored 91 points in a game, including 41 in the fourth quarter. A 6-foot-7 guard, he rebounds well for his position and can lead an offense.

However, his offensive game is hindered by poor shot selection. Despite averaging double digits, he shot just 37 percent from the field against inferior competition. Adding to his troubles, he frequently gets lost defensively, leading to easy opportunities for his opponent. Yet, his biggest question mark has nothing to do with his game or future potential. It's his outspoken, controversial father LaVar, whose actions towards his sons have turned some NBA observers off.

However, LaVar's boisterous ways didn't stop the Warriors from working out LaMelo's brother, LiAngelo, prior to the 2018 NBA Draft. While it's unlikely the Warriors pick LaMelo with their lottery pick, it'll have more to do with lack of fit alongside Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson than outside forces.

[RELATED: Edwards could realize lofty potential with Warriors]

LaMelo Ball profile

Position: Guard
Class: N/A
Birthdate: August 22, 2001 (18 years old)
Hometown: Chino Hills, CA.
2019-20 stats: 17.0 points (37.0 percent FG, 25 percent 3-point, 72.3 percent FT), 7.6 rebounds, 6.8 assists
Height: 6-foot-7
Weight: 181
Wingspan: 6-foot-10-and-a-half
What they’re saying: “He reminds me of Luka Doncic. Just in terms of his size, his feel, and his creativity. He plays with incredible pace, he’s never sped up, he’s never rattled by anything that’s thrown at him." - NBA scout via ESPN's Jonathan Givony

Steph Curry's Game 3 vs. Pelicans in 2015 started Warriors' dynasty

Steph Curry's Game 3 vs. Pelicans in 2015 started Warriors' dynasty

Programming note: Relive Game 3 of the first round of the 2015 playoffs when NBC Sports Bay Area re-airs the Warriors' win over the Pelicans on Monday, March 31 at 8 p.m. PT.

By the end of the Warriors' historic run, second-half playoff comebacks were the norm. An opportunity for their talent to make up for their procrastinations in spectacular fashion.

The first display of their championship grit came five years ago when the Warriors overcame a 20-point, fourth-quarter deficit to beat the New Orleans Pelicans 123-119 in overtime. 

The game's star was Steph Curry, who scored 40 points, including a last-second 3-pointer to force overtime, marking the start of many epic comebacks over the organization's dynastic run. 

While the Warriors finished the 2014-15 season with 67 wins, the roster started the season as relative afterthoughts. After losing in the first round a season prior, most NBA observers surmised the team wouldn't fare much better, even under new coach Steve Kerr, who was freshly poached from the broadcast booth. 

But the Warriors, led by Curry, who averaged 23.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 7.7 assists, shooting 44.3 from 3-point range, had other ideas. By the end of the year, Golden State finished with the league's best record, setting up a first-round matchup with the Pelicans. 

Golden State coasted through the first two games, despite monster performances from Anthony Davis. The young big man flourished in Game 3, scoring 29 points and adding 15 rebounds. Davis was aided by Ryan Anderson, who scored 26 points to help the Pelicans spark a 19-0 run to start the second quarter. The lead ballooned to 20 as Anderson kept scoring, helping the Pelicans shoot 51 percent on the evening. 

Then, the Warriors woke up. 

The Warriors' run started midway through the fourth quarter as the Warriors outscored New Orleans 54-30 over the final 17 minutes. Curry was the catalyst, helping Golden State outscore the Pelicans 39-19 in the fourth quarter. 

Curry's brilliance appeared in the final minute of regulation. With the Warriors down five with 15 seconds to go, Curry drained a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to two. After Davis split a pair of free throws, Curry made a play that will forever live in Golden State lore. 

Seconds later, Curry took an inbound pass from Draymond Green, took a dribble, threw up a brick, got the ball back off a rebound from Mo Speights, gathered, took another 3-pointer, got tackled by Anthony Davis and forced overtime. By the end of the evening, the Warriors paved the way for a sweep. 

[RELATED: Potential of Wiggins-Curry duo showcased in NBA 2K sim]

"You know how big of a deal it is to come back from a deficit like that in the playoffs on the road, in a game we knew was very important for us to really take control of this series," Curry told reporters following the game.

The Warriors' comeback paved the way for similar outbursts in the future, including Game 7 of the 2018 Western Conference Finals against the Houston Rockets, prompting similar reactions from coaches and players alike in their wake. 

"You can't sugarcoat it," Pelicans coach Monty Williams said. "We're all feeling like dirt right now, so obviously you want to build them up, but there is nothing that can build you up in a situation like that. It can be a growth moment for us. ... We've got to deal with it and own it."