Sequels are often associated with the movie industry, but Stephen Curry delivered a sequel of his own on Friday night, saving the Warriors in Sacramento.
The last time Curry played at the Golden 1 Center was during Game 7 of the Warriors-Kings first-round NBA playoff series on April 30. With his incredible performance of 50 points, Curry single-handedly led his team to victory, devastating the Kings and their fans.
On Friday night, Curry gave Sacramento Part II, and it was just as awe-inspiring as the original.
While his teammates struggled throughout the game, Curry took control at every crucial moment, leading the Warriors to a 122-114 triumph.
“That dude never fails to amaze me as much as everybody else,” said guard Moses Moody, who contributed 10 points and three steals.
Kings guard De’Aaron Fox attempted to slow Curry down, but to no avail.
“Ask anybody. It’s almost impossible – unless you’re blocking his shot, which is hard to do,” Fox admitted. “Once his shot starts going in, you just try to make it tough for him, get the ball out of his hands. But that’s a difficult thing to do, especially once he has it rolling.”
Curry’s game-high 41 points, shooting 14-of-19 from the field and 7-of-10 from beyond the arc, only scratches the surface of his performance. His impeccable timing was on full display.
When no other Warriors player scored more than seven points in the first half, Curry’s 18 points kept them in the game. Golden State went into halftime with a 60-57 lead.
While Curry’s teammates contributed a total of seven points in the first seven-plus minutes of the third quarter, Curry himself scored 16 points. Suddenly, the Warriors were up by 10 points with 4:52 remaining in the quarter.
And when the Kings made a significant comeback in the fourth quarter – capitalizing on the Warriors’ sloppy play with 19 turnovers – Curry sealed the victory with a clutch three-pointer, giving his team a 120-112 lead with 43.4 seconds left.
“I used to be the one that had to guard him,” Chris Paul, who finished with 10 points, 12 assists, and three steals, revealed. “So, when defenders are fouling and holding him, I’m telling the refs. But he’s so unselfish. Plays the right way. And we needed it tonight.”
As the Warriors navigate the early weeks of the season, there will likely be more nights when they rely heavily on Curry.
“We’re still learning, as you could see at the end of the game,” said Paul. “But we want to win and learn at the same time.”
Nevertheless, there will be challenges along the way. Paul, who shot 9-of-27 in the first two games, is still adjusting to the system. Andrew Wiggins has struggled, shooting 9-of-25 from the field. Klay Thompson, after a poor performance on opening night, contributed 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting, indicating a potential return to form.
Meanwhile, Curry has been exceptional, shooting 22-of-39 (56.4 percent) from the field and 11-of-24 (45.8 percent) from beyond the arc. Until the rest of the team finds its rhythm, Curry will continue to be the foundation of the Warriors.
“He puts the work in,” Moody acknowledged. “He amazes me in practice as well. He’s always preparing to be great. I feel blessed to witness his dedication day in and day out, not just in games.”
The rivalry between the Warriors and the Kings is starting to heat up. While there is no real animosity, the competition is fierce, and the fans add fuel to the fire. The Golden 1 Center in Sacramento is particularly intense when the Warriors come to town.
Curry seems to thrive in this environment.
“They’ve got great popcorn,” he remarked. “Shout out to them for making me feel good before the game. I’ve got a big bucket right here. It puts me in a good mood, so maybe that carries over to the court.”
Maybe Curry should be cautious. If word gets out, the folks at Golden 1 might change the popcorn recipe.
Emily Turner is your source for everything NBA. As a dedicated basketball enthusiast, she offers insights into NBA games, player highlights, trade rumors, and the league’s evolving dynamics. Emily’s love for the sport shines through in her comprehensive NBA coverage.