If I played Stephen Curry 100 times in H-O-R-S-E, I might be able to beat him a game or two. OK, maybe not a game of H-O-R-S-E, but maybe a game of P-I-G. But I’ll bet there would be one game where Curry was just off, and maybe that one time, I was shooting the lights out. It’s possible.
What I’m saying is that every once in a while, Curry can struggle, he just won’t have it, he can’t buy one, if you will. Those games tend to be a tad infrequent and they mostly get lost amid his slew of good and great games.
I’ll link to “Warriors WrapUp when it becomes available.
Curry went 0-for-10 from beyond the arc against the Lakers earlier this season, and had a 1-for-11 against Milwaukee and an 0-for-8 against the Clippers. He’s also susceptible the periodic high-turnover game, though less this year because he’s handling it less. But he had an eight-turnover game against Detroit, including six in the first quarter.
So it can happen. And it certainly did on Monday in a 132-110 loss to the Nuggets in Denver. Curry was awful, going just 4-for-18 from the floor, including 1-for-11 from the 3-point line. Unfortunately for the Warriors, Curry did that during a game in which the Nuggets were historically good, equaling an NBA-Best 24 3-pointers in a game. Like that time I hypothetically beat Curry in P-I-G.
Houston also made 24 3-pointers in a game but it took them 61 shots to do it. Denver went 24-for-40 (60 percent), which means you could say it was the greatest shooting performance in NBA history.
The point is, these games happen — even to Curry. And this one occurred on the heels of the Warriors’ win over Oklahoma City on Saturday. In that game, the Thunder’s Russell Westbrook had one of those games. Despite finishing with 47 points, on 14-for-26 shooting, most of the focus centered on his 11 turnovers, which certainly went a long way toward the loss.
A big criticism with Westbrook is his “bull-in-a-china-shop” approach and his penchant for forcing plays when they’re not there. He’s also reluctant at times to trust his teammates and has a tendency to try to do too much. Let’s face it, he can be reckless.
But can’t Curry be reckless, too? The answer is yes, though not to the degree of Westbrook. Then again, he doesn’t play the way Westbrook plays, nor does he have to. But the perception of Westbrook is that he can be out of control, a description that’s never used for Curry.
But we all know Curry has his moments of carelessness and bad decisions. He’s had some very costly mistakes and head-scratchers that didn’t seem to be thought out so well, too. His late behind-the-back turnover in Game 7, is an obvious example.
He’s also capable of taking ridiculous “heat-check” shots that are fun at the time, but upon circumspection get filed under the “bad shot” category. Curry will also break the rules here and there by taking 26-footers when the Warriors don’t have numbers.
Not trying to bury Curry here by any stretch. He’s one of the game’s greatest players and if you’re asking me who I’d take on my team, of course, I’d take Curry. But put it this way: Curry has some Westbrook in him, it just comes out in different ways, and a little less frequently.
In some meaningful stats, Westbrook is certainly in Curry’s neighborhood. Westbrook has a career assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.01-to-1; Curry’s is 2.15-to-1. Westbrook’s averages 7.8 assists and 3.9 turnovers per game for his career; Curry 6.8 assists and 3.2 turnovers per game. Those numbers are in the same ballpark.
So there’s a comparison to be made between Curry and Westbrook — in their approach, aggressiveness and the way they each take their own kinds risks. Again, Westbrook is more prone to highs and lows. But Curry’s got some of the same issues.