Video-game version of Steph Curry finally reappears in Warriors' drubbing of Bucks

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Someone Oracle Arena hadn’t seen in some time finally showed up to the Warriors’ 117-92 victory against the Bucks on Saturday night. The video-game version of Steph Curry reappeared.

For the first time since Feb. 25, Curry made over half of his 3-pointers in a game. He entered Saturday 25 of 96 from deep in his past nine games. Against the Bucks, Curry went 6 of 8 from beyond the arc. He finished with 28 points in 30 minutes. 

His night ended with a mini celebratory shower, courtesy of Draymond Green.

“Thank god I rested him last week,” Steve Kerr cracked after the game, referring to his decision to rest Curry, Green, and Klay Thompson for a hyped showdown against the Spurs.

It wasn’t merely the fact that Curry finally made shots Saturday. It was also the way that he did.

With the clock winding down at the end of the first quarter, Curry shook free of Matthew Dellavedova, who is firmly positioned near the top of Oracle’s “most hated players” list, with a nifty stepback near the corner. Curry’s 3 swished through the net with 1.5 seconds showing on the game clock.

This is when it finally felt like he was back:

That wasn’t his only moment of late-quarter magic. At the end of the second quarter, with just over 30 seconds remaining, Curry gathered an inbound pass from underneath his own hoop and sprinted up the floor. Instead of running out the clock and leaving the Bucks with barely any time for a last-second shot, Curry got greedy. He wanted to create a 2-for-1 opportunity, even though the Bucks seemingly did exactly that for themselves by scoring with 32 seconds left.

For gamers who frequent the NBA 2K franchise, this is a familiar and almost automatic tactic. For real-life basketball players, this is not -- not with that little time remaining. For Curry, it worked.

Almost immediately after crossing halfcourt, he launched a shot from the Warriors’ logo. And he drilled it.

The Warriors then forced a stop, but Curry’s full-court heave came after the buzzer sounded and rimmed out. So in that sense, his plan wasn’t flawless.

After the game, he described his thought process before he pulled up from the spot he “zeroed in” on -- the halfcourt logo. He called it a “decent shot that went in.” For the record, roughly five seconds transpired between the Bucks’ bucket and the moment Curry’s 3 fell through the net.

Here’s Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon weighing in:

“It shocked me. Even though I’ve seen it before on TV, it shocked me. I should honestly know better. I should be up more. I watched that on film. It’s a great shot. You got to tip your hat to him.”

That 33-footer marked Curry’s fourth 3 of the first half, when he did the majority of his damage, going 4 for 6 from deep. He made both of his 3-point attempts in the third quarter, but didn’t have the opportunity to see the floor in the fourth with the Warriors’ victory already secured. And so, The Slump (it lasted long enough to have its own name, right?) ended after three quarters.

To Curry’s credit, he remained confident -- at least publicly -- throughout The Slump. He refused to use the word because he felt like it signaled a lack of confidence. He was “just missing shots” in a “make-or-miss league.”

“I’m just missing shots,” he said Tuesday, via the San Francisco Chronicle. “There’s no two ways around it. Shots that I normally take and make aren’t falling, and I’m going to keep shooting them until they do.”

He kept shooting. And finally, they fell.

As a result, the Warriors pushed their record on the homestand to 3-0 and looked better in each victory. First, the Warriors broke out of their rut by grinding through the 76ers. Next, the Warriors ended their offensive slump with a 122-point outing against the Magic. Finally, the last part clicked: Curry joined in and unlocked himself Saturday night.

For a Warriors team that has been feeling its way through Kevin Durant’s absence and is still only 2.5 games up on the Spurs in the West, that’s important -- because if Curry is back to being Curry, he alone solves a ton of their issues. Even on their bad days, which Saturday definitely wasn’t, they can beat any team in the league so long as Curry is cooking.

After a lengthy absence, the Warriors’ cheat code finally worked again.

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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