Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson collected 59 points from 14 three-pointers in Golden State’s decisive win over Memphis on Friday. Thompson won the day, racking up eight of 14 3 shots and 11 of a total of 22 shots. Curry was 4 for 17 at a time before hitting triple daggers like the Warriors finally Put the Grizzlies away.
But the numbers need context. Curry did not play well. He finished with 29 points, a testament to his all-time threat level that he was sloppy with the ball and couldn’t shoot most of the night, still finished 14 points in the game, and indeed hit the ball. When they really mattered, but looking at Dallas or Phoenix in the conference finals, it should be better.
Same goes for Thompson, who was fantastic on Friday but has been dictating shots for a while now. Thompson needed an 11-for-22 in Game 6 to finish the series with more than 40 percent of the field. He is no longer the defender he used to be, focusing more on his offensive contributions.
Meanwhile, Curry can’t find his shot except for a few rounds to save points. He was a 6-for-17 of 3 on Friday, finishing the Memphis streak with 32 percent behind the arc and 41 percent overall. This is by far the worst post-season shoot of his career after the worst regular season shoot of his career.
As I wrote about it earlier this week, Curry’s shooting struggles helped cement him as a great player. He has consistently posted five 30-point games into the playoffs. Only Giannis Antikonmo has more so far. I dumped the 29th on Friday. He is a winning player. Even when his shots don’t come in, he keeps attacking the dribbling, he keeps getting off the ball, he keeps chasing shots and he creates advantages for everyone. James Harden should take note.
But at some point, you might think those shots should start showing up as the playoffs progress. It’s hard to imagine the Warriors winning over the Suns, or even the Mavericks, with Thompson and Curry firing so inconsistently, especially because they no longer have the elite defense to fall back on.
It’s a blank page now. The Warriors survived two rounds and the score starts at 0-0 against their next opponent. Curry and Thompson can put these wrong ways behind and get hot in time, and if they do, the Warriors can beat anyone. But we haven’t yet seen evidence that they can constantly conjure up their ancient magic.