Steph’s 47-point masterpiece saves Warriors, but problems remain originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
SAN FRANCISCO – Moments after saving the Warriors from an epic meltdown of their own, Stephen Curry met Draymond Green on the Chase Center floor for a long hug that told a short story.
Survival. Relief. Joy. End.
Curry’s Superman act, capped by a fourth-quarter comeback, was enough to give the Warriors a 116-113 victory that for most of Monday night looked destined to be their sixth straight loss.
The entire Golden State team seemed to exhale. Coach Steve Kerr smiled as he walked off the court, and Green was visibly grateful to have Curry as a teammate, perhaps because the sky was falling until Curry put it back in place.
“Not that it was like a playoff game or anything,” Green said, “but we knew we had to win that game and it was just a breath of fresh air to get it out.”
“I’ve never been happier to win Game 11 of the regular season,” Curry said. “We needed it.”
Curry played 38 minutes, scoring 47 points, 47 points – 17 points in the fourth quarter, leading a surge that erased an 11-point deficit. Curry with a measure of foresight, making his first seven shots, then closed it out by making his last three – all in the final two minutes.
“I would just say Steph is breathtaking,” Kerr said. “He’s obviously one of the greatest players of all time and he plays so well on so many nights. But even that seemed like something special for him: 17-of-24, with eight rebounds, eight assists and no turnovers. Hitting every big shot. He just put us on his back.”
Curry is the first player in recorded NBA history to record at least 47 points, eight assists and eight rebounds – and zero turnovers. His near-perfection overcame a very imperfect team performance.
The Warriors had done so much to put this game away, to let the Kings come home and extend their losing streak, the most amazing being a 33-10 run by Sacramento in the first half that made them Warriors to relive the stubborn problems that surfaced. 0-5 road trip.
When the changes came in, the energy dropped, the defense collapsed and the ball movement slowed. A 27-15 lead with 3:50 left in the first quarter had become a 48-37 deficit with 6:34 left in the half.
With the Warriors up, losing 11 points off turnovers and holding the Kings to 45.5 percent (10-of-22) from distance in the first half, they spent the rest of the night trying to catch up.
“We didn’t follow the game plan the whole way,” Kevon Looney said. “We let (Malik) Monk get a clear look and they got comfortable, feeling good from the 3-point line and had a little confidence.
“That’s something we talked about coming into the game. We got them off the line and didn’t stick to the game plan in that first quarter. When that happens early on, kids feel comfortable and start rolling.”
The comeback began with 8:50 left and the Warriors trailing 95-84. A 3-point play by Curry cut it to eight, followed by a 3-pointer by Klay Thompson to cut it to five. When the Kings pushed back, pushing their lead to eight (100-92), Curry (14) and Andrew Wiggins (eight) combined for 22 of Golden State’s final 24 points in the final six minutes to shut it down.
“The other guys played with a lot of energy — I thought the starting lineup did what was necessary to win the game,” Kerr said. “Wigs with two big 3’s. Klay’s defense, Draymond and Lun were all fantastic.
“But that was just Steph Curry deciding we were going to win.”
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Leave it to Curry to spare the Warriors a night of misery, followed by three days of penance. He completed his mission.
Forgive Curry if by the end he was too exhausted to call his trademark “night-night” gesture and simply hugged his longtime teammate.
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