Warriors

Steph remains red-hot, shows versatility in win vs. Cavs

Warriors
Steph Curry driving against Cavs

As the Warriors got ready to play the Cleveland Cavaliers on the second night of a back-to-back on Thursday night, there was one big question: How in the world was Steph Curry going to follow up the nearly immaculate performance he put up just 23 hours earlier?

And rewinding a little bit more, would he be able to continue his amazing scoring tear since he missed five games with a tailbone contusion?

The simple answer is yes, he could. And he did it by showing the full range of his game in the Warriors' 119-101 win over the Cavs.

Curry put up 33 points against the Cavs, marking his ninth straight game scoring at least 30 points, including going for 53 points against the Denver Nuggets -- the same game that gave him the franchise's all-time scoring record over Wilt Chamberlain. Since missing 10 days of team activities because of his tailbone, Curry is averaging 38.2 points.

"He's been amazing," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "He does it night after night, and it's a lifetime of training and mental work and I think the absence, when he hurt his tailbone, maybe gave him some fresh legs because since his return he's just been incredible, even by Steph's standards."

Against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday, Curry hit 11 3-pointers, making it the second time in his career that he hit at least 10 in back-to-back games. But on Thursday in Cleveland, the shot wasn't there for Curry. 

 

At least not early on. Curry didn't make his first 3-pointer until the 1:34 mark of the third quarter. He quickly followed it up with his second just 31 seconds later and finished the night going 4-of-13 from distance. Yet, he still finished with 33 points. 

Curry displayed his scoring range and reminded everyone why he isn't just an elite shooter, but an overall elite scorer. 

He spent most of the night attacking the paint and using his magical ball-handling ability to contort his body and the ball around defenders.

"I said it earlier in the year: Whenever you got No. 30 on your team, you're a contender," Juan Toscano-Anderson said. "As long as everything else around him is clicking, he's going to be great every night."

Curry is on one of the hottest streaks of his career. The numbers he is putting up -- 30.7 points per game on 49.0 percent from the field, 42.4 percent from three and 92.5 percent from the free-throw line -- are reminiscent of the numbers during his unanimous MVP in 2015-16. During that season, there were two stretches that had a similar feel regarding his bombastic scoring.

Yet, this year it feels different. Mostly because during that MVP season, the push was for the championship. Right now, if it weren't for Curry, the Warriors wouldn't be in the position to make a push for a playoff or play-in spot.

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Curry knows that. And because of that, he's going to do everything in his power to see this streak continue through the final games of the season.

"Give my best," Curry said. "Bring the joy and the competitive fire. Like I said before, this is an opportunity to finish the season strong. Make these last 17 games worth it. Make it mean something. Try to put consistent efforts together. Considering the injuries that we've had, and the up and down season so far, you can focus in on a very short window of games that can be fun as hell to play. So we got to be locked in and I got to do my job."