Curry's Comeback

With sweet and silky handles to a quick and deadeye stroke from long range, Stephen Curry has arguably become the NBA’s most likeable and most deadly player. The two-time reigning MVP of the league has set milestone after milestone over his past two seasons. In 2015, he led his team to an NBA title, broke the regular season three-point mark by hitting 286 three balls, and collected first MVP honor. Many believed that this would be the pinnacle of Curry’s career and that there was not much more he could  accomplish to supersede the greatness he had displayed in the 2014-2015 season. Well, the baby-faced assassin would beg to differ.

Curry rolled through opponents this season with videogame-like stat lines and moves. Curry averaged 30.1 ppg, 6.7 APG, and 5.4 RPG. Underneath the umbrella of those regular season totals, he shattered his own made three-point field goal record of 286 by 116, dropping an unearthly mark of 402 made threes -- while shooting 45% from three point range and 50.4% from the floor as a whole. Curry and the Warriors had sports fan all over on the edge of theirs seat every time they took the floor as they dominated their opponents. Curry lead the Warriors to 73 wins in the regular season as he and his teammates broke the regular season wins record once held by the ‘95-96 Bulls by one game. It was truly hard not to admire the work done by the Warriors and Stephen Curry.  
As the postseason approached, the Golden State Warriors, a once bottom-feeder of the league, was for the second year in a row the favorite to win it all. They were slated to play the Houston Rockets in the first round and many predicted this series to end in a sweep of the Rockets. The Warriors did not sweep the Rockets but in fact won the series 4-1 but not without a huge scare in Game 4 as Curry went down with a grade 1 MCL sprain. This injury had other contenders such as the Thunder and Spurs, licking their chops, eyeing a Western Conference Championship. The injury set the Warriors back a slight bit but they were able to remain a well-oiled offensive machine as Klay Thompson and Draymond Green elevated their play. Curry’s injury had him out a little over a week and a half, but he was set to return in Game 4 of the Western Conference Semis versus the Portland Trail Blazers. The young and scrappy Blazers led by, soon to be perennial all-star Damian Lillard, gave Golden State all they had in the first three games of the series. But the return of Curry is what really put the nail in the coffin. Steph did not start Game 4 and his minutes were here and there as Steve Kerr wanted to preserve his MVP guard. But, when the game rolled into overtime and he let Curry loose, as he scored an NBA record, 17 points in overtime finishing the game with 40 points and a Warriors’ victory.
The Warriors were able to close out the series with Portland defeating them 4 games to 1. Awaiting them in conference finals were the Oklahoma City Thunder lead by two of the top five players in the NBA, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. The two teams had met three times during the regular season with Oklahoma City blowing 4th quarter leads three times leading to three Golden State victories. OKC stormed out of the gates, grabbing a surprising Game 1 victory on the road, 108-102. In the midst of the loss , Curry shot the ball pretty average to his standards going 9 for 22 from the floor as his 26 points were not enough. This was the beginning of Curry’s early conference finals “struggles”. Oklahoma city jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the series and they proved that they could contain Curry and outscore the rest of the Warriors team. In Golden State’s three opening losses, Curry went a combined 22 for 59 from the floor --posting a pedestrian 37% shooting percentage. Through the first 4 games and two blowout losses, the sporting world was not seeing the Steph Curry that had easily become the face of the NBA during the regular season. This Curry was having trouble shaking defenders and struggling with Oklahoma City switching and doubling him off of screens. The sporting world was about to watch Goliath fall until a game 5 victory at home stamped with a very simple statement by Curry, “We’re not going home!”
Steph Curry would not renege on his promise as the Warriors chipped away at Thunder’s lead, cornering them into an uncomfortable trip back to Oakland for Game 7. Previously, after  Oklahoma City’s Game 5 loss, during a postgame press conference, ESPN’s Michele Steele asked Kevin Durant if he believed that Curry was underrated as a defender. Immediately following the question and before Durant could even answer, Russell Westbrook dips his head with a sarcastic smirk and laughs. Many in the media and basketball world, saw this as disrespect that added more fuel to the fire for Golden State. Westbrook’s actions ultimately blew up in his face as Curry and the Warriors would go on to win the next two games and clinch a berth to the NBA finals as Curry produced 31 points, 9 assists and 10 rebounds in Game 6; followed by 36 points, 8 assist and 5 rebounds in Game 7. With the Warriors three straight victories coming out of a 3-1 hole, they had accomplished another historic feat that only 8 other NBA teams have managed to accomplish. As the ticker tape fell and thousands of fans roared with fervor, Curry was seen embracing his lovely young family with joy and kisses. The face of the NBA and the two-time reigning MVP was seen returning to his humble nature, that fans all over admire, amidst the bright lights, camera flashes and praise from the packed Oracle Arena.

With Game 1 of the NBA Finals versus the Cleveland Cavaliers looming on Thursday, June 2nd,  what more could we expect to see from Steph Curry? Because frankly, have we not seen it all? This is what waits in store for fans all over because Curry has yet to disappoint.

Andre Toran

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