The Golden State Warriors as a team walked the Dallas Mavericks to 122 points, a franchise that stars a point guard in his teens and a center that’s past his 20th year in the NBA. Since Stephen Curry has returned, they have found a way to completely shut off their defensive instincts, motion, and anything resembling a care in the world. But Wednesday night’s game was more big picture than the battle during the war. Nothing mattered except Stephen Curry’s second game back from his injury and looking like an exact replica of the Unanimous MVP from just two years ago.
Curry jacked up 13 3s, made 6, and finished with 32 points, including a vintage 3 from a few feet behind the line. With Yogi Ferrell dying on a smart Draymond Green screen, the game-winning shot resembled one from every other game in Warriors history. The center, Dirk Nowitzki, was somehow still slow to recognize and/or physically unable to move, and was a step or two too late as Curry rose up for the shot.
There are only so many feats of strength that inspire as much fear as Steph coming downhill as he pauses before he breaks into his form. There is LeBron’s shadow with players in transition, James Harden’s arm under yours, Russell Westbrook charging you down in the lane, Kevin Durant’s tearing down through the line in open floor, and not much else. But even those are done through sheer force or trickeration. Steph’s ability to grab your attention not before it’s too late like everyone else, but forces you to ensure full hyperawareness the moment he cross the halfcourt line. There is nothing you can prepare for someone coming at you at the rim. There is less you can do about someone willing to shoot further and further away from you in a way that’s unparalleled, and unknown to muscle memory.
The fear is an art, and art perfected by fear in the form of Stephen Curry.
So with the game tied and less than 10 seconds to go, Curry traipsed across the halfcourt line, the Mavericks pushed their defense up, but not to its breaking point given Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant dotting the line on both sides, and before one can even call out “ICE” Curry ended the dreams of another team with a calm, smooth, rainbow 3 from the rafters. And with that, the Warriors are the most dangerous offensive team of all time, yet again. It’s been a little bit of a drag sometimes to see Curry struggle with himself physically, mentally, and the incorporation of all the new pieces.
Now the Golden State Warriors are here, fully operational, and Steph looks ready to finish off what he should have done in 2016.