There is still no show in sports that quite measures up to Stephen Curry on a heater. At 35 years old, the Warriors' superstar is as electric as ever, and he was at it again on Wednesday with 50 points against the Clippers.
Still, the Warriors lost 134-126 in Los Angeles, dropping their road record to an embarrassing 7-27. The Warriors have now lost nine straight on the road, where they are 0-21 when trailing after three quarters.
Even writing those numbers, it's almost impossible to believe. And yet, here the Warriors are still clinging to the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference, one game up in the loss column 7-9 seeds. Not much room for error, but if that 6-seed were to hold for Golden State, it could actually be a blessing in disguise that they dropped this game to the Clippers.
As it stands, the Warriors would match up against the No.3 Grizzlies in the first round instead of the Suns. That said, Golden State still has 12 games left, which feels like a season in itself with how closely packed the Western Conference standings are entering play on Thursday.
The Warriors can't be concerning themselves with strategic seeding. They need to win every game they can to stay above the play-in line, or frankly, even get into the postseason at all. They're only two games in the loss column from a lottery spot, and now it looks like they'll have to play without Draymond Green against the Hawks on Friday, the second stop on what could be a season-altering five-game road trip.
Green was whistled for his 16th technical foul of the season on Wednesday. Unless the league rescinds it, that's a one-game suspension.
This means Curry might need to go on another heater on Friday to give the Warriors a shot to win their first road game since January. Don't rule it out. This guy has been on fire pretty much since 2013, and the shots he was hitting on Wednesday were once again of the "you can't be serious" variety.
I mean, what is this?
STEPH CURRY. UNREAL.— NBA (@NBA) March 16, 2023
HE'S GOT 41 PTS. 21 IN Q3 🗣️
📺: Live on ESPN pic.twitter.com/BhGx04rRzO
Curry went totally nuclear with 21 points in the third quarter, the 44th 20-point quarter of his career. Just sit back and enjoy this 35-year-old freak show turning yet another NBA arena into a theatre of the absurd.
Curry has now scored over 10,000 career points on 3-pointers alone. It's his second 50-point game of the season and the 12th of his career, which is 10th all-time. Seven of those 50-pieces have come after turning 30 years old, which is one more than Michael Jordan and tied with Wilt chamberlain for the most all-time.
And the craziest part? Just two of Curry's points came at the free-throw line. This is the anti-James Harden. This is pure, lift-the-people-to-their-feet buckets. Curry finished 20 of 28 overall, including 8 of 14 from 3. What he can do with a basketball in his hands is absolutely ridiculous.
Unfortunately for the Warriors, Curry cannot dominate a game defensively or on the boards, where the Clips murdered them on the offensive glass on Wednesday. Steve Kerr played small with Jonathan Kuminga and Green as the "bigs" down the stretch, and they couldn't finish possessions with a board. The Clippers got second shot after second shot, which was too much for a Golden State defensive unit already stretched thin.
No Andrew Wiggins is a massive problem for the Warriors, who are trying to survive with the likes of Curry, Jordan Poole and Donte DiVincenzo guarding Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, and then trying to block out Ivica Zubac on top of it. Russell Westbrook beat the Warriors to multiple offensive boards that led directly to buckets.
If Wiggins doesn't come back for the playoffs, Kerr might have to consider closing with Kevon Looney. But first things first: Golden State has to make the playoffs. A tight as this race is, they could end up anywhere from No. 4 to the lottery and it wouldn't be a shock. Somehow I doubt Curry is going to let them fall all the way out, but as we saw on Wednesday, there's only so much one man can do.