After a four-month absence spent rehabbing his surgically repaired broken left hand, Stephen Curry made his highly anticipated return to the Warriors' lineup on Thursday night vs. the Raptors. And though the Warriors fell short, 121-113, it didn't take long to see just how much difference Curry makes being back on the court.
Curry, who finished with 23 points, seven assists and seven rebounds, started off patient from a scoring standpoint, but his gravity was obvious from the start -- one of those things you maybe don't fully appreciate until you haven't seen it in a while. The ball was popping as Curry forced defenders to chase him like old times, making his impact felt as a passer even though he went 0 for 2 from 3-point range during his first six-minute stint.
Check out the sweet behind-the-back dime Curry dropped -- with his left hand -- during the first quarter:
His second stint of playing time proved more fruitful from a scoring standpoint. First he got former Warrior Patrick McCaw to bite ever so slightly on a pump fake and leaned into him for a 3-point play the old fashioned way:
Shortly thereafter, Curry got his first triple to fall:
Then came the bomb we were all waiting for -- a 35-footer as the shot clock was winding down late in the second quarter:
You might call that a heave, but for Curry that's a relatively normal shot. As is this four-point play he finished in the third quarter:
I think it's safe to say the Chef is back.