Even with the high standards he has set, this has been quite a week in the career of seven-time Golden State Warriors All-Star Stephen Curry.
Since last Monday, Curry has passed Wilt Chamberlain on the franchise scoring list and matched Kobe Bryant in the record books while continuing a run that he admits is statistically the best of his career.
Whether Curry suits up when the Warriors visit the Sixers on Monday at the Wells Fargo Center remains to be seen.
With 6 minutes and 57 seconds left in Saturday’s 119-114 loss at Boston, Curry rolled his left ankle. He was in noticeable discomfort, but stayed in the game and would make three more three-pointers, finishing with 47 points.
When asked if he would play against the Sixers, he said in the post-game Zoom interview, “Honestly, I have no idea. I am hopeful though, obviously.”
Curry is listed on the official NBA injury report as questionable with left ankle soreness.
Regardless of his status, it’s been quite a week for a player who is on an unprecedented career roll.
Last Monday, he became the all-time leading scorer in Warriors history, surpassing Chamberlain, who held the mark at 17,783 points.
Curry passed him by scoring 53 points in the 116-107 home win over the Denver Nuggets.
“It’s crazy,” Curry said after that game via Zoom. “Anytime you hear [Chamberlain’s] name it is kind of daunting because you know his records are so hard to earn, some of them are even impossible to eclipse.”
Curry, the son of former NBA sharpshooter Dell Curry and brother of Sixers guard Seth Curry, surely knows his NBA history.
“You understand how great of a player he was,” Curry said, referring to Chamberlain. “Anytime his name pops up, you almost redefine the respect level for him and what he has been able to accomplish. I can’t remember exactly how many games he played as a Warrior and how many I have played, but to be anywhere near him in any record book and now be on top it’s surreal and it’s wild. "
For the record, Wilt Chamberlain played 429 games for the Philadelphia/San Francisco Warriors while Curry has played 748 games with the Warriors and now has 17,940 points.
Curry, who turned 33 on March 14, has now scored 30 or more points in 10 consecutive games. According to Elias Sports Bureau, that ties Kobe Bryant for most consecutive 30 point games by a player age 33 or over.
Before this current streak, the most consecutive 30-point games Curry had was five. During this run, he is averaging 39.1 points and shooting 54.6% from the field, including 48.6% from three-point range. Golden State (28-29) is 6-4 during the 10 games.
When asked to explain Steph Curry’s excellence, Warriors coach Steve Kerr kept things in simple terms.
“He is just Steph Curry,” Kerr said after Saturday’s loss. “It is not just the skill level, it is the confidence, the bravado, the willingness to fail and not to think twice about it. He goes for it every time, every play, competes, is not afraid of failure and trusts his skills because he has worked his whole life for this.”
Curry, a three-time NBA champion and a two-time MVP, was asked Saturday if the last 10 games have been the best stretch of his 12-year NBA career.
“I mean, statistically, it is for sure,” he said. “This season has required a little bit, something different,”
Due to injuries to veteran teammates, Curry is playing with a relatively young cast at Golden State. He is needed to carry the offense each evening and has obliged, averaging 30.1 points, while shooting 49.1%, including 42.7% from three-point range. He has missed eight games and the Warriors are 1-7 in those contests.
“I have been blessed with a very special skill set that I am trying to continue to master and own and get better at, and that is showing,” Curry said. “The work is showing. I am trying to obviously sustain that for this season because it is required for us to get to where we want to go.”
What makes Curry so amazing is not just that he hits shots from deep range. According to Elias Sports Bureau, he is shooting 31-for-69 (44.9%) on three-pointers from 30 to 39 feet. What is truly impressive is how the 6-foot-3, 185-pound point guard is able to take so much contact each game from multiple defenders.
“I think he is always in great shape, which is why he has always been able to move around the way he does on the court, he never stops moving,” said Warriors teammate Draymond Green. “But I think the most important thing is how strong he is and that increases his stamina because all of a sudden you are taking all these hits and you can actually withstand those hits ... I think the most incredible thing about his stamina is his strength.”
In their previous meeting on March 23, the Sixers beat host Golden State, 108-98. Curry missed that game with inflammation in his tailbone.
The Sixers (39-17) have won four in a row following Friday’s 106-103 home win over the Los Angeles Clippers.
Notes: The Sixers list four players questionable - Tobias Harris (right knee soreness) Seth Curry (right hip flexor tightness), Dwight Howard (left knee soreness) and George Hill (right thumb surgery). Hill has yet to play for the Sixers after being acquired on March 25 at the NBA trade deadline from Oklahoma City.