Stephen Curry's wizardry gives him another NBA record, Warriors another win

Stephen Curry's wizardry gives him another NBA record, Warriors another win

OAKLAND -- One after another, players and coaches proceeded to the podium, being asked about Stephen Curry’s latest magic trick and basically shrugging it off as routine, like water from a faucet.

Just Steph being Steph.

“I expect it at this point,” Kevin Durant said of his Warriors teammate.

“Sounds like the regular Steph Curry that I watch on TV,” said Clippers guard Lou Williams, who knows his way around shooting exhibitions.

“You know, I was telling my coaching staff, I still think Steph Curry is one of the most underrated players in the NBA,” Los Angeles coach Doc Rivers said. “I don't even know how that happens, but he is. He's taken for granted.”

The praise poured upon Curry after he scored 38 points on 16 field-goal attempts in 37 minutes, lifting the Warriors to a 121-104 playoff-opening romp over the Clippers on Saturday night at Oracle Arena, was richly deserved yet somehow faint.

He also snagged 15 rebounds, a fantastic total for anyone but patently absurd for a 6-foot-3, 190-pound point guard.

There are nights when words barely do justice to Curry’s work, and this was one of them.

Curry not only led his team to a Game 1 victory in the best-of-seven series, but he also pushed another Hall of Famer out of the record book. He moved past Ray Allen and into first place on the all-time list of postseason 3-pointers with 386.

“The way I play, the shots I take, I obviously have confidence every time I rise up,” Curry said. “But to be in the same category and to pass a guy like Ray Allen and all the iconic moments he’s had in playoff games and Finals games ... it’s pretty surreal.”

The way Curry is shooting, he could get to 400 in this series and add another 50 or so if the postseason extends into June.

“He’s attained a lot of 3-point records pretty quickly,” Draymond Green pointed out. “What is he now, third all time? Guys have played a lot of games, and here he is third all time in the middle of his prime.

“No, I’m never surprised when it comes to anything with Steph shooting the basketball. I don’t think there’s much argument when anyone says he’s the greatest shooter of all time.”

Curry was 8 of 12 from deep, and he has 2,483 regular-season 3-pointers, behind only Reggie Miller (2,560) and Allen (2,973) on the career list. Allen played until he was 38, Miller until he was 39. Curry is 31 and in the second year of a five-year contract not expected to be his last.

“I get asked that a lot: ‘Is this the best he’s playing,’ ” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “It seems like every year, that’s the question: 'Is this the best he’s playing? Is this the best he’s playing?’

“He’s been playing his best for about five years, as far as I can see.”

Rivers, keenly aware of Curry’s shooting, tried a different defensive approach on him. Rather than assign point guard Patrick Beverley, who has an adversarial history with Curry, Rivers sent Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, a 6-6 wing. Beverley, at 6-1, was assigned to 6-9 Kevin Durant.

“We put a smaller guy on him just to take away the dribble attacks, because Durant is so good off the dribble,” Rivers said of his strategy on Durant, who scored 23 points. “I thought we were effective there.

“The problem is now you don’t have Pat guarding Curry. And so one thing I’ve learned as that (the Warriors) are really good and, you know, you can’t put Pat on everybody. But Curry has destroyed us all year. He really has. We have to try to do a better job from a coaching perspective. We have to do something different for sure.”

[RELATED: Ref Steph sarcastically called 'MVP' won't work NBA playoffs]

Well, yes, Rivers and his staff will go back to their white board and seek another way to defend Curry because this one was a spectacular failure -- as are the vast majority of schemes.

“I expect him to come in and shoot well every night because he puts the work in,” Durant said. “I expect him to come out here with MVP-like focus because he is an MVP.

“It was just another night at the office for him.”

Warriors' rest advantage grows with Raptors' Game 4 win against Bucks

Warriors' rest advantage grows with Raptors' Game 4 win against Bucks

If you subscribe to the notion that a playoff series doesn't begin until a home team loses, well, then the Eastern Conference finals have yet to begin.

After dropping the first two games of the series on the road, the Toronto Raptors evened the series with the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night with a 120-102 victory at Scotiabank Arena in Game 4.

In winning each of the last two games at home, Toronto has ensured that the Eastern Conference finals will go at least six games. Meanwhile, the Golden State Warriors have already advanced to their fifth consecutive NBA Finals after sweeping the Portland Trail Blazers in four games.

Golden State has plenty of time to rest up before the Finals begin on May 30th. Whichever team represents the Eastern Conference won't have as much of a luxury.

Given the fact that several players on the Warriors' roster -- most notably Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala and DeMarcus Cousins -- missed part or all of the series sweep of the Blazers with injuries, the extra time off before the Finals begin certainly comes in handy.

[RELATED: Dubs overcome injuries to earn some much-needed rest]

Game 6 between the Bucks and Raptors is on Sat. May 25th, meaning whichever team that comes out of the East will have at most four days to recuperate before the Finals begin.

That would already seem to be a significant advantage for Golden State, but if you want to get greedy, there's plenty of reason to believe the Eastern Conference finals could require a Game 7.

Patrick Beverley says Clippers gave Warriors best challenge in playoffs

Patrick Beverley says Clippers gave Warriors best challenge in playoffs

Programming note: Watch the NBA Finals pregame edition of Warriors Outsiders on Thursday, May 30 at 4:00 p.m., streaming live on the MyTeams app.

Los Angeles Clippers guard Patrick Beverley is a confident person.

Beverley doesn't back down from anybody and he speaks his mind freely.

On Tuesday morning, he made the following declaration on Twitter:

Sorry Mr. Beverley, but we respectfully disagree.

Here were the results of the Warriors-Clippers first-round NBA playoff series:
Game 1 = Warriors 121, Clippers 104
Game 2 = Clippers 135, Warriors 131 (Golden State led by 31 points with about 7:30 left in the third quarter)
Game 3 = Warriors 132, Clippers 105
Game 4 = Warriors 113, Clippers 105
Game 5 = Clippers 129, Warriors 101
Game 6 = Warriors 129, Clippers 110

The Dubs' average margin of victory was nearly 18 points.

In the second round, the Rockets beat the Warriors twice and every game was decided by six points or less.

Although Golden State swept Portland in the Western Conference finals, the Blazers had the following leads:
Game 2 = 17 points early in the third quarter
Game 3 = 18 points late in the second quarter
Game 4 = 17 points with less than two minutes left in the third quarter

[RELATEDDame says Dubs-Blazers 'completely different' with one change]

While you could make the argument that the Clippers gave a better challenge than the Blazers, the Rockets clearly were the most formidable foe.

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