Steph Curry again made good on one of the safest assumptions in today’s NBA: If he’s cold early, look out late.
The latest example came Saturday in Houston, where Curry obscured a brutal first half with a third quarter of such brilliance that it proved decisive.
Curry’s third quarter – 23 points, on 7-of-11 shooting, including 5-of-7 from deep – carried the Warriors to a 113-87 win over the Rockets, giving Golden State (32-32) much-needed relief in the immediate wake of successive damaging defeats.
“I’ve seen him do this a lot, where he’s struggling and he can’t make anything,” coach Steve Kerr said Saturday in a video conference. “All it takes is one. He made the one in the corner, where he celebrated and started jumping up and down and maybe mocking himself. That seemed to get him going.”
The Rockets, with the worst record in the NBA, led by as much as 11 in the first half before an Andrew Wiggins dunk pulled the Warriors into a 59-59 tie with 8:08 remaining in the third. The Warriors took a 62-59 lead 26 seconds later when Curry drained a 3-pointer from the left corner and, yes, unleashed a mighty roar.
“I don’t know what I was shooting at the time,” said Curry, who was 3-of-15 up to that point. “But it was nice to let out a little yell and try to infuse some joy into the game. Things took off from there.”
By the time the Rockets scored again, the Warriors had added another 15 points as part of a 24-0 burst and built a 77-59 lead. Curry scored 15 of the 24 points. The Warriors were in command.
“In the second half, it seemed like we were a step slow, maybe a little tired,” Houston coach Stephen Silas said. “But when Steph got going, the dejection and the putting your head down after he makes some of shots can be a part of that.”
The Rockets might have been hoping Curry would carry his first-half misery into the second. He missed 10 of his 12 shots, including eight of his 10 attempts beyond the arc, and totaled seven points in 18 minutes. Curry also committed three turnovers.
But if you’ve seen Curry over the years, you’d know one quarter isn't indicative of another and the same applies to one half.
“One of the most remarkable things about Steph is that he could be in the midst of what looks like his worst game of the entire season and then just explode,” Kerr said. “He’s got the ultimate confidence. It’s pretty amazing to watch because most human beings wouldn’t be able to dig themselves out of a hole like that.”
Curry finished with a game-high 30 points on 9-of-23 shooting, including 7-of-17 from distance. He added six rebounds and five assists and committed only one turnover after halftime.
“He got hot in the third quarter,” Silas said. “He’s done it to a lot of teams.”
Don’t they know it.