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.”
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.”