Stephen Curry is not only the NBA’s best overall player, but he might be the most clutch shooter in the league, as well. Hitting a game-winner from well beyond the three-point line that helped elevate the Golden State Warriors over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday night was further proof that the defending MVP is at his best when the game is on the line.
The Warriors have been so dominant this season that Curry often times rests for the entire fourth quarter. Getting off to an historic 53-5 start, Golden State is outscoring their opponents by 11.3 points per game, winning 34 games by double-digits. When Curry does play in the final minutes of a close contest, however, he is as good as ever.
"He senses when he needs to take over and when not … I mean, that’s what Steph does, right?” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after Golden State’s Feb. 22 win over the Atlanta Hawks.
Curry scored 46 points and made a record-tying 12 three-pointers in Golden State’s most recent win, but it was his final shot in overtime that still has the rest of the NBA buzzing. With the Warriors looking to eclipse the 72 wins of the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls, Curry has had several late-game performances that have given Golden State victories.
After the Warriors blew a 23-point lead in the fourth quarter on Feb. 22, Curry scored nine points in the game’s final six minutes to lift the Warriors past the Atlanta Hawks. In the following game, Golden State trailed Miami by one point with 40 seconds remaining, but a Curry three-pointer gave them the lead for good.
In the middle of one of the all-time great NBA seasons, Curry was at his best in February. He averaged 36.7 points, 7.3 assists and 5.6 rebounds per game on 54.9 percent shooting, including 53.6 percent shooting from three-point range, while hitting clutch shots against multiple playoff teams. But Curry was nearly as unstoppable early in the year when Golden State was defending an undefeated record.
The night before the Warriors lost their first game of the 2015-2016 season, Curry made a three-pointer in the fourth quarter’s final minute, which was key in the team’s double-overtime win over the Boston Celtics. On Nov. 30, the Utah Jazz were tied late with the Warriors, but Curry’s three-pointer with 51 seconds left gave Golden State a three-point lead that they wouldn’t relinquish. Golden State’s toughest test in the early part of the year was a four-point win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Nov. 4, and Curry’s 31-point performance was highlighted by a few clutch three-pointers.
— William Hill Aus (@WillHillAus) December 1, 2015
Leading the NBA in scoring while having an all-time great shooting season, Curry is all-but guaranteed to win a second straight MVP award. The 27-year-old has helped Golden State to a .914 winning percentage, which is ahead of the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls' record season.