Our long national nightmare is almost over. Election Day is finally here. Twenty-four hours from now Facebook will go back to being a useless repository of baby pictures and cat videos instead of an even more useless repository of your uncle’s awful political opinions.
Thankfully, there will always be the NBA to keep us occupied and distracted no matter how messy the real world gets. And if there’s one thing all Americans can agree on, regardless of politics, it’s that there is only answer for which player is the likeliest candidate to nuke the world and it remains the same now as it’s been the past two years: Stephen Curry, the singular most destructive force in the league.
If you missed it last night, Curry canned 13 three-pointers in 17 attempts in Golden State’s 116-106 win over the New Orleans Pelicans, breaking the previous record of 12 of which he was a co-owner along with Kobe Bryant and Donyell Marshall.
The degree of difficulty on his attempts ran the full gamut, from “criminally wide open” to “audacious to the point that it would get you punched by your teammates in a rec league” and regardless of the absurdity of the attempt, the ball kept splashing through the net over and over and over again.
No one else in the world has ever been able to shoot like this and who knows if anyone will again? When Curry’s feeling it, the gap between what he can do and the everyone else is the stuff of Ruth, Gretzky and Messi. He’s in his own league.
It’s important to remember that because for large swaths of the game the Dubs didn’t play well last night. Klay Thompson’s three-point shot remains missing, likely lost in a baggage counter in Rio de Janeiro. They’re not getting much of anything from the bench. There are too many guys, from Draymond Green to Zaza Pachulia to Andre Iguodala to Kevon Looney who are hesitant if not outright refusing to shoot open shots.
They continue to throw the ball all over the gym, with Curry in particular repeatedly trying to dribble or pass through crowds, a 36-minute heat check. If not for Curry’s radioactive shooting, or perhaps a halfway decent opponent, the Warriors might have stumbled to their loss after blowing a 21-point lead at home. They are, to be charitable, “working out the kinks.”
The point is that eventually, they’ll figure it out. They’re too smart, too inherently unselfish and too prideful not to. They’re not about to get embarrassed and humiliated on a national scale just because the majority of the country wants them to.
They’re the gifted squad on paper; they know it, and they’re just trying to learn how their new pieces will fit on the fly. The good news, for them, is they’ve got only, oh, six months and 75 games to get there. Until then, they can just throw their talent at the problem and overwhelm lesser opponents with it.
If it’s not Curry one night, then it’ll be Kevin Durant, or Thompson when he rediscovers his stroke or Draymond Green gets hot.
Sure, there will be clunkers now and again like the Lakers game in which practically they’ll all be terrible at once, where they’ll be sloppy, uninspired and disheveled, but they’ll be fewer and far between the later this season goes and the more familiar the fellas get with one another and Kerr’s rotation gets more crystallized.
What Durant does is increase their margin of error. A core that won 73 games last year and came within a bounce or a suspension of repeating as champions has found a way, by hook or by crook, to get even wide open shots for the guys you don’t want to leave wide open.
To hope to beat them in the macro sense is to hope for injuries, suspensions or epic slumps, because there are no X’s and O’s solutions to be found against their chaos engine.
What Curry showed last night is he’s still the alpha dog here, above even Durant. When he’s linked into the netherworld, there’s nothing anyone can do but marvel and curse, depending on your rooting interests. He’s going to have that game, or a reasonable facsimile, 10-12 times and they will be wins in the bank. The real dirty trick is that the ever-present threat of that game is what will buy the others the room to do the voodoo that they do.
There’s a reason Durant wanted to join this club, and it wasn’t to get season tickets for the Niners. Russell Westbrook may play like a man possessed, but the real Angel of Death remains Curry.