There's a growing debate whether Stephen Curry is eclipsing LeBron James as the NBA's best player after winning his first title and league MVP a season ago.
Curry could help the unbeaten Golden State Warriors match one of James' distinguished marks Tuesday night.
The Warriors can improve to 23-0 and post their 27th straight regular-season victory when they visit an Indiana Pacers team that features the Eastern Conference's top scorer in Paul George.
Already with the best overall start to a season in NBA history, Golden State can become the first team to open 13-0 on the road and can tie the second-longest regular-season win streak in league history. James' 2012-13 Miami Heat won 27 straight, with the NBA's only longer run being the 33-game streak by the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers.
The Warriors were severely tested Sunday in Brooklyn, blowing an early 17-point lead and falling behind by five in the third quarter. That's the period in which Curry scored 16 of his 28 points, and Golden State pulled away in the fourth for a 114-98 victory.
''Just trying to see if I could get some room and figure out a way to impact the game,'' Curry said, ''and things started to click.''
Curry, who will likely be defended in this contest by George Hill, totaled 84 points in his previous two games and averages a league-best 32.4. His average of 17.8 points against the Pacers is his second-worst against an opponent.
George is averaging 27.6 points this season after the Indiana swingman scored a career-high 48 in Saturday's 122-119 overtime loss at Utah.
He and the Pacers (12-7) feel they match up well as they search for a seventh straight home victory.
“We're definitely geared with our personnel to match up with this team,” George said. “It looks good on paper, we've just got to go out and execute.”
While the Warriors lead the league with 115.1 points per game, the Pacers have also been potent with 103.3. Indiana is averaging 112.8 in a 6-2 stretch.
These are the league's best 3-point shooting teams, with Golden State at 43.7 percent and Indiana at 40.1. Curry is shooting 47.2 percent on 3s and George is at 45.4 to rank among the NBA's leaders.
Curry can match the record Rashard Lewis set from 2007-09 by making a 3-pointer in his 87th straight road game Tuesday. His 11.2 3-point attempts per game would mark the most in NBA history since 1979-80.
Indiana knows that Golden State has more than Curry. Klay Thompson is averaging 17.2 points, including 22.0 through four games of this seven-game trip, and Draymond Green leads all forwards with a team-high 7.2 assists per game.
“Steph gets a lot of attention because he's incredible but they're a great team,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said.
One edge for Indiana is that it is one of the best defensive teams in steals (9.2 per game) and forcing turnovers (17.3 per game). Golden State averages 16.0 turnovers for one of the NBA's worst marks.
The Pacers have received an offensive boost from Rodney Stuckey, averaging 19.3 points in his last three games.
Warriors forward Harrison Barnes will miss his sixth straight game with a sprained left ankle. Former Pacers guard Brandon Rush is expected to again start in his place.
Center Andrew Bogut returned to the lineup Sunday after missing Saturday's victory at Toronto with back spasms.
George was out when these teams split their 2014-15 meetings, with Curry sitting out the Warriors' 104-98 road loss with a foot injury.
- Andrew Bogut
- Brandon Rush
- Draymond Green
- George Hill
- Harrison Barnes
- Klay Thompson
- Rodney Stuckey
- Stephen Curry