Stephen Curry needed 19 points to pass Wilt Chamberlain as the all-time scorer in Warriors history.
It took him just 11 minutes.pic.twitter.com/4ffqgtYE1k
— KNBR (@KNBR) April 13, 2021
On the heels of and one of the most demoralizing losses of the year, the Golden State Warriors came out firing in a surprising 116-107 win over the red hot Nuggets at Chase Center on Monday.
Denver had won 8 of its last 9 since acquiring Aaron Gordon in a trade with Orlando, but were no match for an all-time Stephen Curry performance, and for a small-ball Warriors team that turned back the clock to give a 2014-16-esque performance in one of the more impressive victories of the season. Here are a few takeaways:
Curry is, and looks like, the Warriors’ all-time leading scorer
Stephen Curry was two points shy of 50…after three quarters.
The Warriors’ biggest star was looked like the greatest scorer in franchise history on the night he officially became that, needing less than a quarter to score 19 points and surpass the Big Dipper’s 17,783 mark.
Curry could not be stopped from beginning to end, finishing with a ridiculous line of 53 points on 14-of-24 shooting while knocking down 10 3s. In the first half, he was nearly the entire Warriors offense, his 30 points outscoring his teammates’ 26.
In the third quarter, diminutive backup point guard Facundo Campazzo tried a different tact with Curry, guarding him full court whether he had the ball or didn’t. The Argentinian international is apparently unaware that Curry hates this tactic, as it reminds him of defenders treating him like a scrub back in his AAU days. It’s not a surprise that it didn’t work. Curry dropping 18 in the third quarter, mostly when being guarded by his 5-foot-10 foe.
Curry even let everyone know Campazzo couldn’t guard him after nailing a 3 late in the third.
Steph cooking Campazzo and yelling he can’t guard me lol pic.twitter.com/qtTvGorYTI
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) April 13, 2021
It was a truly special performance from Curry on a night he reached a truly special milestone.
Small-ball Dubs turn back the clock
Without James Wiseman, the Warriors don’t really have a traditional center on the roster. Kevon Looney is the closest thing, but he’s only traditional in the sense that he’s big and can rebound and defend his position a little bit.
That means the Warriors are going to be a small-ball team for the remainder of the season — likely even if they make a late addition to the roster. That style benefits the Warriors on offense, largely because it benefits Curry on offense, allowing him to take advantage of the immense floor space.
It also benefits Draymond Green, who is able to run the high pick-and-roll with Curry and create as the roll man attacking the hoop. Maybe more than any other time this season, Green decided to attack the rim as a scorer in these situations, making seven of his eight field goals while adding two 3s for good measure, his 18 points a season-high. He also led the team with 7 assists and was the best defensive player on the floor, adding 4 steals.
If the small ball offense reminded one of the championship runs, so did the dogged defensive effort against the NBA’s fourth-ranked offense. The Nuggets still scored at an impressive clip, shooting over 48 percent from the field, but had to work for everything and were forced into 19 turnovers. Kent Bazemore, who got the start and scored 14 points, did a particularly good job on Jamal Murray, who went just 5-of-15 before leaving the game in the fourth quarter with a scary knee injury that looked very serious.
Jamal Murray in serious pain, leaves the game with an injury to his left knee pic.twitter.com/mevJpPgmPG
— KNBR (@KNBR) April 13, 2021
The intense play by both teams led to some chippyness, first when JaMychal Green was issued a Flagrant 1 after throwing Damion Lee to the ground for hooking his arm and then when double-technicals were issued after Juan Toscano-Anderson got in Monte Morris’ face.
Most importantly, the Warriors weathered a typically excellent Nikola Jokić performance. The MVP candidate finished with a near triple-double: 27 points, 12 rebounds and 8 rebounds.
A James Wiseman update, non-update
Steve Kerr said pregame that there is no update on James Wiseman’s injury timetable, and that the Warriors are still gathering opinions from doctors regarding the big man’s meniscus injury. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that the Wiseman’s meniscus was torn, but Kerr was non-committal when asked about the severity.
Kerr did say the Warriors will probably look to add a big man as they are “very thin in the frontcourt.” Wiseman was at the facility on Monday and did an upper body workout pregame according to Kerr