National Basketball Association

Damian Lillard, Steph Curry redefine range in All-Star Game 3-point display

March 8

It wasn't a specific dunk or crossover that defined the 2021 NBA All-Star weekend. 

Remarkably, it was simply a few 3-pointers from Damian Lillard and Steph Curry that had the NBA world abuzz.

But these 3s – well, they were anything but simple.

The two high-scoring guards were on fire from deep, connecting on a combined 16 of 32 3-point attempts, with each long-distance make wowing more than the one before. 

These back-to-back 3s, in particular, left fans and announcers stunned going into halftime.

Needless to say, after the game, all of the chatter was about Lillard and Curry. Even LeBron James – who captained the All-Star squad highlighted by the two sharpshooters – was left in disbelief.

Curry and Lillard gave themselves a little pat on the back as well. 

On Monday's "First Things First," Nick Wright went on record to say Curry's influence has never been on display more than it was Sunday night, and the game of basketball must officially be split into two eras: pre-Steph Curry and post-Steph Curry.

"He has changed this game, for good or for bad, forever. And while there are a lot of the guys in the league right now that try to shoot like Steph and can't, in the future, there are a lot of kids that are playing right now, who will be in the NBA 10, 12, 14 years from now, who are going to make shots like this just part of good offense."

One person who might agree with Wright is LA Clippers superstar Paul George, who suffered at the hands of Lillard's seemingly unlimited range just a few years ago. 

In Game 5 of Portland's first-round Western Conference playoff matchup with Oklahoma City, Lillard hit this bomb in George's grill to eliminate the Thunder.

After that game, George called Dame's game-winning attempt "a bad shot."

But on Sunday, PG-13 had to reverse course. 

George and James were not the only ones left in awe when it came to Curry and Lillard. Shannon Sharpe said on Monday's "Undisputed" that the duo's shooting display was unlike anything he had ever seen.

Curry and Lillard surely had a great influence on the game, considering the two teams took a combined 133 3s, connecting on 58 of them. 

The two squads attempted a combined 88 2-point field goals.

Curry and Lillard were so incredible that they completely overshadowed James Harden's seven 3s and Bradley Beal's six treys, which Skip Bayless was quick to point out. 

Bayless also said that while a few of the great 3-point marksmen in NBA history, such as Reggie Miller and Ray Allen, could have had Curry-Lillard range, no player has ever gone out on the limb and attempted to shoot from such mind-blowing distances, which is a credit to Curry and Lillard. 

"What if Ray Allen had decided early in his career, 'I'm gonna shoot logo 3s' – could he have made them? I'm sure he could have. Would he have as much range as these two? Sure, he would have. But nobody ever dared to shoot those shots until now. And they have shown that in stretches, they can hit enough that it makes it a credible shot."

The long 3 has indeed become credible, and look no further than the end of Sunday's All-Star Game, when Lillard closed the show with one of his classic bombs. 

Unreal. 

Now, the inevitable question: Which of these two dynamos has more range?

Wright, somewhat surprisingly, believes it's Dame.

That question will always be up for debate, but what's no longer an opinion, at least according to former NBA point guard-turned-league analyst Jay Williams, is that Curry and Lillard made Sunday's All-Star Game one that won't soon be forgotten.

"They're making the net pop from half court. You don't see people shoot that way normally. These are two of the greatest shooters the game has seen. It was special to watch."

Steph and Dame – we'll see you two next year.


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