Steph Curry's minutes have been a hot-button topic among Warriors fans over the majority of the 2020-21 season, and Tuesday night saw the star guard play more than he has since Feb. 17.
The two-time NBA MVP logged nearly 38 minutes, knocking down 14 of his 21 shots from the field (including 5-10 from behind the arc) for 41 points and six rebounds as the Warriors hung on for a 122-121 win over the Milwaukee Bucks at Chase Center. Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters after the game that he and Steph had discussed a ramp-up in playing time with the team's next game not coming until Friday.
“Steph and I had talked earlier in the game about extending his minutes a little bit, we got two days off and he’s really feeling much better," Kerr said following the victory. "I know there was the one play where he fell and he was writhing in the pain, but the last two days he has felt a lot better with the tailbone. So we didn’t mind extending the minutes given that he’s got the rest coming and that he’s doing better, and I thought he was just phenomenal. I mean Jrue Holiday is one of the best defensive guards in the league, and I thought Jrue did a great job on Steph all night, just pressuring him, using his strength and physicality, and Steph still goes out there and gets 41, pretty impressive game, amazing.”
The Warriors were coming off a difficult three-game skid that included a loss by 53 points, a streak that featured numerous clips of palpable frustration from Curry on the court. In the two games that bookended that 53-point loss to the Toronto Raptors with Curry and Draymond Green both in street clothes, the star guard put up 36 and 37 points respectively, but the Warriors still came up short against the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks.
Curry checking in just before the eight-minute mark of the fourth quarter, as opposed to his standard return around the six-minute mark seemed to pay dividends, as the Warriors were down 100-91 to Milwaukee when Steph first got back on the floor.
Golden State outscored the Bucks 31-21 over that final 8:09 to escape with a much-needed win. Curry was asked to detail the conversation with Kerr regarding his minutes, and quipped with a simple reenactment.
"Hey coach, can I play two extra minutes tonight? 'Sure Steph, that works great.' OK, I'll see you in four minutes," Curry told reporters.
Given the success the Warriors saw in the fourth quarter with an earlier re-entry from Curry, perhaps we'll see that become a more consistent part of the rotation going forward.