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If you've watched Stephen Curry with any sort of frequency over the years, you know there have been plenty of instances in which he's gone from having a bad game to not just a good game, but a great game, in the blink of an eye. He did it again on Saturday in Utah, lifting the Golden State Warriors -- without Draymond Green -- to an impressive 123-116 victory over an elite Jazz team that was at home and operating at pretty close to full strength. 

Collectively, the Warriors played inspired basketball from start to finish. Their defense was fantastic. Otto Porter Jr., who continues to look like one the league's best under-the-radar offseason signings, and Andrew Wiggins combined for 45 points. Gary Payton II was typically terrific. Andre Iguodala balled off the bench. Rookie Jonathan Kuminga's big potential becomes clearer every game. 

But for Curry personally -- though his presence alone had its typical impact -- the shots weren't falling for the majority of the night, which has been the case for some time now. 

Entering the game, Curry was shooting 39.7 percent from 3 and 43.3 percent overall, both of which would go down as the lowest marks of his career by appreciable margins. For the month of December, his shooting percentage barely crested 40, which is, like, lower than Russell Westbrook territory. 

Theories abound as to what's going on with Curry, who's jacking 3s up at an NBA-record rate (13.5 per game). You'll hear it argued that he's facing tougher defense than ever, but I'm not sure that holds water when he won the scoring title and shot 42 percent from 3 last season while playing with a rag-tag supporting cast that demanded, and received, absolutely zero defensive respect. If he was ever going to be double- and triple-teamed out the wazoo, last season was it. 

That's not to say he wasn't consistently swarmed last season. He was. And he has been again this season. It's only to say that being hounded by multiple defenders isn't some new concept for Curry, and you'd be hard-pressed to find an extended stretch in which he has shot this poorly. 

Stephen Curry
GS • PG • 30
PPG27.7
APG6
SPG1.52
3P/G5.394
FG%43.4
FG3%40.0
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That's not just about his percentage, by the way. Curry has long been a surprisingly streaky shooter, as detailed in this 2013 Bleacher Report investigation. He's no stranger to extended cold runs. But this season, so far at least, the misses feel different. Many of them are not just short or long; they're way off. 

Personally, I think his shots, in general, are a bit more rushed this season because he's not creating quite the same kind of separation from defenders (this speaks to his awful paint percentage, too), but that doesn't explain the 34.4 percent he's shooting on shots with the nearest defender at least four feet away, per NBA.com. That, again, would go down as his worst career mark by far. 

It's early. But it's not that early. We're nearly halfway through the season. What we know is that Curry has always canceled out those aforementioned cold streaks with positively nuclear shooting stretches. He hasn't done that so much on the whole this season, but the threat is always there. 

On Tuesday against Denver, Curry collected more turnovers than points in what was perhaps the worst first-half performance of his career. He missed his first seven 3-pointers before finally making one in the waning seconds of the third quarter. He went on to hit four more in the fourth quarter. It happens that quickly. 

On Saturday at Utah, Curry was just 5 for 14 from the field for 16 points through the first 42 minutes; pedestrian, at best, for a player of his caliber. He reentered the game with six minutes remaining and the Warriors down 101-98. He immediately hit a 30-footer to tie the score. He then gave the Warriors a two-point lead with a foul-line jumper with just under two minutes to play. 

A few seconds later, he did this:

Just like that, the game was over. Four stat-padding free throws later, you looked up and Curry had finished with 28 points on 6-of-12 3-point shooting, adding nine assists and six rebounds, and Utah's six-game win streak was over. Once again, an average game, and that's being generous, turned into a great one on the strength of three field goals, four free throws, two 3s and 12 points inside a six-minute stretch. 

I do find myself wondering whether the new Wilson ball is impacting his feel and thus his consistency, or if this really is just a random stretch of cold shooting, extended as it is. Either way, there is no evidence in Curry's past that it will continue, and once the Warriors get Klay Thompson back, Curry's inevitably going to get cleaner looks with another all-time shooter to distract defenses. 

Despite his struggles this season, Curry is hitting over 43 percent of his wide-open 3s (nearest defender at least six feet away), per NBA.com, and historically he and Thompson have both been near the top of the league in wide-open attempts because you can't guard them both that tightly. 

Until then, it's splendid news for the Warriors that they're this good without Thompson and with Curry shooting this inconsistently. They've gone 5-1 against currently top-three-seeded teams in each league, defeating the Chicago Bulls, Brooklyn Nets, Phoenix Suns (twice) and now the Utah Jazz by a combined 78 points. When Curry's percentages start to rise, and when Klay eventually gets his game legs under him, and when Draymond gets back on the court, and if James Wiseman can give them anything at all, this is a team that can absolutely win it all. 

But the first part of that is the key. When Curry's percentages start to rise. Yes, he can still have these stretches that make the box score look good at the end. And yes, even at 39 percent from 3, his threat-level remains that of a nuclear attack waiting to happen. 

But there's no guarantee Thompson is going to be the same player upon his return, and for as good as the Warriors are as a whole, they do lack individual creators. You can envision a postseason scenario in which their system is ground to a halt and Curry magic is the only ace left in their deck. 

So far this season, he hasn't been able to cue up those video-game shots on call. He still hits plenty of them, as evidenced against Utah and on plenty of other occasions. But all told, he hasn't really even been able to knock down regular ones all that consistently. I'm not saying that won't change. I'm just saying that no matter how many regular-season games the Warriors win, I think it has to change if they are going to truly compete for a title.