The only team that appears to have the ability to stop Stephen Curry is the one he plays for. As strange as that sounds, it is the harsh truth.
And this was hammered home Wednesday night, when Curry showed what he can do when he actually plays in a fourth quarter. The reigning NBA MVP demoralized the upset-minded Heat with two huge three pointers — the first from 27 feet, the second from 26 — then calmly stepped to the free-throw line and knocked down four free throws to ice the Warriors’ 51st win.
After the dust settled, Curry finished with 42 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in another virtuoso performance. Only thing is we so rarely get to see Curry’s clutch gene. He’s sat out of 14 fourth quarters during the Warriors’ first 56 games.
But that only accounts for when he doesn’t play a second of the final frame. He’s cracked 40 minutes played four times this season. In those four games, he averaged 37 points per game. For the season, he’s averaging 30.
Now it wouldn’t help the Warriors — or Curry, for that matter — if he averaged 40 minutes. But what would he average if he were closer to the 40-minute mark than the 34 he averages now?
How about all the clutch moments Curry would author if the Warriors were in tight contests down the stretch? Golden State has easily cruised to a 51-5 mark, the best start in NBA history. For all the accolades Curry has received this season, he would probably garner more if he were asked to do it in crunch time.
Maybe we will see these moments in the playoffs. Maybe when the Warriors are facing the cream of the crop in the NBA, we will see him rise to the challenge like all the other all-time greats.
Wednesday was just a glimpse at what we’ve been missing. It’s a sneak peek at Curry to display the ability that Kobe and Michael had. That desire not only to take the big shot, but make it from spots that not even Kobe and Mike could dream of.
Curry is in the midst of one of the greatest seasons in NBA history, and we still haven’t seen the best of him yet. Let’s hope we get a glimpse someday.