Even for a shooting savant like Stephen Curry, his performance against the Washington Wizards was special. For the Golden State Warriors, Wednesday's 134-121 was just another triumphant night.
Curry blitzed the Wizards from the start, sinking three 3-pointers before five minutes ran of the clock.
"He was just scintillating tonight coming out of the gate," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.
By the end of the first quarter, the awe-inspiring bomber scored 25 points with seven 3's as the Warriors led 43-28.
“I said, ‘Here he goes,'" Wizards interim head coach Don Newman exclaimed. "And I knew it because that's what they usually do. I mean they come out and the first time and they want to just kill you."
Curry attempted 14 shots by halftime. Some catch-and-fire, some off the dribble, and some with such high-degree of difficulty even the harshest Olympic judge would grade kindly. Of those 14, Curry made a staggering 13, including 8 of 9 3-pointers, all leading to 36 points.
"The shots that you know feel good go in, and some of the shots that you’re like, ‘Oh that’s off,’ they end up going in," Curry explained. "So it’s just kind of a fun feeling."
The reigning NBA Most Valuable Player wasn't done. After the game Wizards rallied to 81-79 in the third quarter, Curry helped squash comeback thoughts with two more 3-pointers. More points came in the final period as the Warriors finished off the Wizards for their eighth straight win, improving to an unreal 45-4.
Speaking of unreal, Curry's final numbers qualify: 51 points and 11 3-pointers. For those inside the raucous Verizon Center, whether on the court, watching from the sideline or the stands, it felt like more. Turns out no player has ever scored more in the Chinatown arena. Curry matched the all-time mark set by Michael Jordan and Gilbert Arenas.
As for the 3-pointers, those 11 3's were more than any player in the NBA this season. Only two players in the NBA's history have ever made more in a single game.
"He was brilliant," Kerr said.
Curry was also bold, taking shots mere mortals wouldn't dare. After the Wizards committed a turnover in the backcourt, Curry gathered the ball with his back to the basket. Barely glancing at the rim, he turned, hoisted, and found nothing but the bottom of the net.
Ask any of the 20,356 fans in attendance and each would probably have another shot or dribble-drive or artistic moment or heat check stretch that stood out most. Those that paid top dollar for a chance to watch the greatest showman in the league got their monies worth.
“We watch it on TV every day," Wizards forward Otto Porter said of Curry's production, "and you look like ‘Ah it’s not like that,’ but when he does it against you, it’s eye opening for you."
Also noteworthy is that the Wizards didn't play poorly. It took Curry's magical performance to overshadow John Wall's season-high 41 points and 10 assists. Washington shot over 50 percent from the field and committed fewer turnovers than Golden State. The performance was improved compared to recent outings, but the Wizards endured another loss, their seventh in nine games.
Wall was asked how many games out of 10 the Wizards win if they play at this level. "10 out of 10," he said, "if we're not playing them."
If Curry shoots like a mere mortal, Washington stood a chance. Considering he drains so many shots from so many angles repeatedly, it's perhaps time to wonder if he's indeed from another planet. The defending champs are certainly playing otherworldly. The Wizards are simply the latest team enduring an eye-opening night.