OAKLAND — Stephen Curry didn’t have a great game Wednesday.
Not by his standards, at least. It was solid, but hardly spectacular.
And Curry hasn’t had a “Steph Game” all year, either — one of those dizzying affairs where Curry seemingly can’t miss for large swaths of time and opponents turn to dust in the presence of his hot hand. You know, a Steph Game.
No, Curry isn’t at his best right now — his shots aren’t falling the way he wants them to, he’s turning the ball over a bit more often than usual, and he’s fouling a bit much for everybody’s liking.
There’s room for improvement, and he’s the first to admit it.
But Wednesday’s Warriors win, without Kevin Durant in the lineup, was indicative of just how influential Curry has been to Golden State this season.
Draymond Green disagrees with this point, but Wednesday’s game showed that Curry’s influence on the Warriors is peaking.
In many people’s viewpoint, Curry has never affected games quite like he has this year, even if his play is a bit off.
Defenses, simply put, still have no idea what to do with him. His on-court gravity — another unquantifiable factor — is otherworldly, and that’s creating opportunities for his teammates to score. Even though he has personally played better, the threat of Curry has never been greater.
And his defense has been good this year, too.
He’s a presence on both sides of the court and it’s reaping huge benefits for the Warriors, who have won five consecutive games, all by blowout margins.
Has the start to this season been the best 12-game stretch of Curry’s career? No. But if his play at the start of the season is the baseline for his performance through the 2017-18 season, Curry is well on his way to his third MVP award.
Green took umbrage with the “peaking” statement Wednesday, but Steve Kerr tacitly agrees with this assessment of Curry’s current state of play and his impact on the Warriors: “We marvel at what he does every single night. Part of the package with Steph is that he’s so fluid and loose, which makes him great, but it also means some games he’ll just throw the ball to the other team,” Kerr said after Wednesday’s game. “You’re like ‘what is that?’ and he comes to the sidelines and is like ‘I don’t know what I’m doing’, but what he does, in every area — defensively and offensively — is just so forceful that you live with a few turnovers.
Loose, but forceful.
To someone who has never seen Curry play, that description would be paradoxical, but it perfectly describes Curry’s influence on a game.
“It’s just stunning, really, the impact that he makes — I’ve never seen anything like it,” Kerr said.
Now would be a good time to remind you that Kerr played alongside Michael Jordan and Tim Duncan and played against Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. He’s been in the same organization as Steve Nash and he’s had to devise schemes to stop LeBron James, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook.
He’s pretty familiar with greatness.