And there it is.
Stephen Curry has now scored exactly 15,000 points in his NBA career. pic.twitter.com/WY0rJQZxWh
— KNBR (@KNBR) December 18, 2018
The moment that Curry hit 15,000 points for his career
The Warriors returned back to their usual selves tonight, battering the Memphis Grizzlies at home in Oakland in a 110-93 win. Both Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant surpassed career milestones, and the Warriors regained their first-place standing atop the Western Conference.
Here are three thoughts from tonight’s game:
15K doesn’t happen in a day
Wardell Stephen Curry II, or Steph, as he is commonly known, is a uniquely impressive basketball player. But you already know this. Just about everyone knows this. But Curry wasn’t the instant superstar like LeBron James or his MVP-caliber counterpart Kevin Durant.
Curry came into the league and was fantastic, with an enormous amount of upside, but he was tormented by a bad pair of ankles and a bad team – including a backcourt partner in Monta Ellis who said he and Curry would never work together. That didn’t work out too well for Ellis, who was traded for Andrew Bogut and Steven Jackson, and at age 33, hasn’t played for an NBA team since he was with the Pacers in 2017.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference
Meanwhile, Curry took ownership of the Warriors. After a 26-game 2011-12 season, Curry recovered for his first 20-plus point season the following year and proceeded to high 3-pointers at an astounding rate in the coming seasons. Now, he’s the third-fastest Warriors (behind Wilt Chamberlain and Rick Barry) to hit 15,000 points thanks to that 3-pointer he hit tonight, along with his 20 points, 7 rebounds and a pair of steals.
With 10 points tonight, Stephen Curry (15,000 career points) joins Wilt Chamberlain (17,783), Rick Barry (16,447), Paul Arizin (16,266) and Chris Mullin (16,235) as the only players in Warriors history to score 15,000 career regular-season points. pic.twitter.com/R0C9keuczX
— Warriors PR (@WarriorsPR) December 18, 2018
“Wanted man in California… Wherever you might look tonight you might see this wanted man”
As the Memphis native Johnny Cash sang in “Wanted Man,” there is a wanted man in California and his name is Kevin Durant. You can be sure just about every NBA front office is figuring out how they can convince the one-time MVP and two-time Finals MVP that he should leave the comfort of the Bay Area for anywhere else.
Durant’s impact is pretty clear-cut on the floor. You can count on him to put up at least 25 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists a night on efficient shooting and near-perfect free throw shooting (tonight, he had a measly 23 points on 7-of-15 shooting, 3 rebounds and 5 assists). He runs the second unit with ease and when nothing else works, you can count on him for a hesi pull-up jimbo in the clutch.
Sometimes, on a team that’s filled with talent to an almost comical level, it’s possible to forget just how incredible Durant is. But you can be sure no other team in the league, nor their fanbases, will underrate Durant this summer when he hits the free agent market. Tonight, Durant passed Larry Bird (21,791 points) on the NBA’s All-Time scoring list to move up to 33rd with this shot:
Kevin Durant ties Larry Bird in all-time PTS! #ThisIsWhyWePlay
— NBA (@NBA) December 18, 2018
Why would he leave the Warriors, a team that’s already a dynasty, or the comfort of the Bay Area, a place he’s said he’s loved living in? Maybe it’s got something to do with his beef with Draymond Green from earlier in the season. Maybe Durant wants a change of scenery and a place where he’d be the clear-cut alpha dog on his team. Or maybe Durant wants none of that, and all the talk of him leaving the Warriors has been blown out of proportion.
No one else knows what Durant wants but him, but that won’t stop every team in the league trying to convince him that he should leave the Bay Area this summer.
Jordan Bell-ed out tonight
Jordan Bell is a unique player. Sometimes, you think he has the potential to be a dominant power forward in the NBA. And then, he goes and does stuff like this:
Jordan Bell submits his Shaqtin A Fool entry pic.twitter.com/rpVz82LnBA
— The Render (@TheRenderNBA) December 18, 2018
But never fear, once you think Bell has lost it, he comes back to redeem himself, leaving you confused as to whether he’s a really good player who’s not yet living up to his potential, or a decent player who has moments of magic:
Jordan Bell does it on both ends!
— NBA (@NBA) December 18, 2018
Sure, did he miss a layup almost immediately after this fantastic end-to-end steal and dunk? Yes, of course he did. But that’s almost part of Bell’s charm. He astounds you with his effort, athleticism and occasional mid-range jumper before pulling a Shaqtin A Fool moment in which he loses the ball in a way you never thought possible. Either way, his energy is contagious.