Stephen Curry's Game 4 Performance Proved He's Still the Best Player on the Planet
News broke yesterday that Golden State point guard Stephen Curry would be named the NBA MVP for the second consecutive season. Shocker! After leading the league in scoring at 30.1 points per game and leading the Warriors to the best single-season record of all-time, his status as the MVP was really never in question.
His status for Game 4 against the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference semifinals, however, was very much in question.
Curry hadn't played more than 20 minutes in a game since April 13, and he was listed as doubtful early in the day. Head coach Steve Kerr decided to allow Curry, after warming up, to give it to go -- albeit in limited fashion. Curry came off the bench for the first time since 2012 and was supposed to be on a 25-minute limit.
Curry entered the game at the six-minute mark to find his Warriors trailing 16-2. While he struggled out of the gate, Curry galvanized the Warriors. Golden State was able to come back from the 14-point deficit and, behind a 10-point fourth-quarter effort from Curry, eventually force overtime.
That's when Chef Curry decided to take over, as we have seen so many times before this season.
Curry hit the first shot of overtime and then proceeded to score Golden State's first 12 overtime points. He shot six-of-seven from the floor in overtime, including a perfect three-for-three from behind the arc
Stephen Curry scored 27 of his 40 points in the 4th quarter & overtime pic.twitter.com/dyua1sm3u5
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 10, 2016
He finished the overtime period with 17 points -- the most ever scored by a player in overtime. The Warriors scored 21 points in overtime, tied for the second-most ever by a team in a playoff overtime period in the Shot Clock Era (since 1954-55).
Points scored in OT in the NBA tonight:
• Steph Curry (17)
• Trail Blazers (14)
• Raptors & Heat COMBINED (15) pic.twitter.com/yspiTwWnFg
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 10, 2016
Curry's final stat line was a video-game-like 40 points, 9 rebounds, and 8 assists. Not bad for a bench player, I guess.
His 40 points were the most by any player off the bench in Warriors history and marked the second time in the last 30 years that a player has scored 40 points off the bench in a playoff game.
His theatrics along the way left us with memorable reactions.
"That what I. That. That was a. That. That was on--" - a man who just saw Steph Curry drop 17 in OT pic.twitter.com/GFE8wjwgqd
— Kenny Ducey (@KennyDucey) May 10, 2016
I couldn't have said it better myself, Sir Charles.
Steph's performance left some completely speechless.
Steph had me like.. pic.twitter.com/BiW0eKZns2
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 10, 2016
It's safe to say, the MVP is back.
Never seen such a confident shooter...ever. Steph Curry is amazing. https://t.co/G6QyTEnvlr
— Nate Woodard (@storm_chaser82) May 10, 2016
Curry's performance has to be equally deflating for Portland fans and exciting for NBA fans around the world.
This year's NBA Playoffs has been the most lopsided in more than 30 years, and many NBA fans were starting to get bored. The potential of a showdown between the revamped Curry-led Warriors and the seemingly unstoppable Cleveland Cavaliers is beyond exciting.
With the reigning MVP back at full strength, it is hard to imagine anyone being able to stop the reigning champs -- especially after last night's historic performance.