OAKLAND — Stephen Curry came off a double screen inching closer to the 3-point line, but still well beyond it. The Warriors point guard still couldn’t find open space.
New Orleans Pelicans big man Anthony Davis came bearing down, with a long arm aimed to disrupt his shooting motion.
That sure seemed like a low percentage shot. Not for Steph. Not during a torrid third quarter where he simply couldn’t miss.
If that was a heat check, it proved Curry was still scalding. Jaws dropped when that one went through, as part of a surge that lifted the Warriors to a 147-140 win over the Pelicans at Oracle Arena.
Curry had 41 points on the night, with 23 in a third quarter where he went 7-of-8 from beyond the arc.
Many of those were fantasy shots for most. They are practiced, often coreographed and at times perfected by the NBA’s finest distance shooter.
“Sometimes, when you get hot like that, you can’t see anything but the rim,” Curry said. “You just try to stay on balance and get to your spot, wherever that is. Again, these are shots I work on. I have confidence in them. I know my teammates do.”
Kevin Durant’s a rare talent in his own right, and even he has to stop and applaud.
“He’s a once-in-a-generation, once-in-a-lifetime talent, and his movements are so smooth that he makes it look so easy,” Durant said, after scoring 30 points of his own. “When he’s knocking down those shots, it’s just a joy to see.”
Curry was virtually unstoppable in the second half, securing his sixth 40-point game of the season by hitting 11-of-22 shots, including 9-of-17 from three-point range.
The Warriors matched a franchise record with 24 three-pointers made on a franchise record 49 attempts. They’ve ramped up their 3-point efforts lately, something opposing teams have done while trying to beat Golden State in a season that has featured more close games then usual for the defending champs.
Head coach Steve Kerr cited No. 30 being healthy again for this 3-point surge.
“Steph just changes the whole equation,” Kerr said. “It really does come down to Steph being back, because the tempo goes back up. He shot 17 threes tonight. That’s the difference. He’s going to get a ton of them up.”
Some of them are standard, open shots taken close to the 3-point line. Others, however, would seem wacky taken by most everyone else.
Curry going on crazy runs is commonplace around these parts, but even other sharpshooters still marvel at his shots and their at-times shocking degree of difficulty.
“It’s incredible,” fellow guard Klay Thompson said. “Pull up off the dribble from 30-plus feet — it’s insane. I’m witnessing greatness.”