NBA

Curry 'has never played better', says Warriors coach Kerr

By Sports Desk February 07, 2021

Steve Kerr feels Stephen Curry is playing the best basketball of his career after his impressive 57-point outing in the Golden State Warriors' defeat to the Dallas Mavericks.

Curry joined Wilt Chamberlain as the only Warriors players to post multiple 55-point games in a campaign with a season-high 11 three-pointers in Saturday's thrilling clash.

It was not enough for the Warriors as Luka Doncic tied his career high of 42 points to inspire his side to a 134-132 victory, snapping a six-game home losing streak.

However, Kerr was blown away by Curry's shot-making ability, with the two-time MVP's 57 points - the second-best total of his career - coming on 19-of-31 shooting from the field.

"He's never played better," Kerr said. "We're talking about a two-time MVP, three-time champion. I've never seen him like this. He just looks so strong to me. 

"He's obviously always been an incredible shooter, but he looks stronger to me just getting by people, fending them off on drives to the rim, finish, and of course the shot-making. 

"It's almost unfathomable what he's doing out there."

Doncic, who is yet to outscore Curry in a head-to-head contest, was also amazed by the Warriors superstar's performance at the American Airlines Center.

"Every time he shot the ball, I thought it was going in," Doncic told ESPN. "It was something unbelievable. He's an amazing player. 

"He changed the game and it's always fun to play against him, and today we got a win, but it's always fun to play against him."

Elsewhere in Saturday's NBA action, champions Los Angeles Lakers beat the Detroit Pistons 135-129 in double overtime.

LeBron James had 33 points, eight of those points coming in the second overtime as the Lakers survived a scare against a Pistons side with just five wins all term.

James, who also had 11 assists to make it 10 double-doubles for the season, joked he is getting too old to be taken the distance.

"I was just ready to go," he said. "I'm 36 years old... my heart is not sustainable for two overtimes at this point in my career! 

"I've got a bottle of wine at home ready to be opened, and I delayed it for two overtime periods."

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    Steve Kerr has accepted the blame for the Golden State Warriors' shock defeat to a depleted Indiana Pacers side, saying "this was my night to stink it up".

    Stephen Curry's 39 points were not enough for the Warriors as they lost 121-117 in overtime on Thursday to go 32-13 for the season.

    The Warriors gave away 21 turnovers against a Pacers side without Domantas Sabonis (ankle), Caris LeVert (calf) and Malcolm Brogdon (Achilles).

    Kerr's side led by three points in regulation time, making the decision not to foul in the build-up to the Pacers' game-tying shot all the more surprising.

    Speaking on the back of arguably the Warriors' worst defeat this season, Kerr said: "I'm normally a fouler, so I take the hit on that one. Tonight was my night to stink it up.

    "I blame myself, number one. I don't think I prepared my team to be ready to play. I did not do a good job of preparing the group."

    Curry's 39 points are the most he has managed in a game since before Christmas, with his season average of 26.4 down on last term's career-high 32.0.

    The 33-year-old failed to score in overtime, while Klay Thompson missed all seven of his 3-point tries in a day to forget for the Warriors.

    "It wasn't a great game in terms of our execution," Kerr said. "It just felt like we were scattered out there and in a rush for sure."

    Thursday's defeat was a chastening one for the Warriors and leaves them second in the Western Conference with a .711 win percentage.

    And like coach Kerr, Curry felt he could have done more to get his side over the line in regulation time by fouling Justin Holiday or Isaiah Jackson for the shot that tied the game.

    "I looked at the ball for like two seconds," Curry said. "Holiday made a good cut and made a shot. I know there's that conversation, should we have fouled and all. 

    "I was just a step slow and that one gave him too wide-open of a look. Trying to guard the inbounds and I got caught looking."

    The shorthanded Pacers have moved to 17-29 for the season after beating LeBron James' Los Angeles Lakers and Curry's Warriors in successive games.

    In doing so, they become the second side in NBA history to beat different multi-time former MVPs on the road in back-to-back games.

    Chris Duarte, who led the way for the Pacers with 27 points and seven rebounds to tie his career-best return, hailed the significance of his side's surprise victory.

    "Golden State is a great, great team," he said. 

    "They got two of the best players – two of the best shooters that you've ever seen in this game – so I think us coming out with the win, it's a huge, huge win for us."

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    Luka Doncic is hopeful of playing against the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday despite suffering a neck injury in Thursday's defeat to the Phoenix Suns.

    Doncic, star man for the Dallas Mavericks, sustained the injury when he fell to the court after contact with Suns center Bismack Biyombo in the third quarter of the 109-101 loss.

    The two-time NBA All-Star was seen clutching the back of his neck after the fall and had to apply a heat pack to the area.

    The 22-year-old Slovenian made his way back onto the court to play out the final seven minutes, though he could not inspire the Mavs to victory as a four-game winning streak was snapped.

    Doncic is confident he will be fine to return against the Grizzlies, however. 

    "It's my neck. It's the spine," Doncic explained to reporters after the game. "When I fell down, I hit my back. It's pretty sore right now.

    "I think it's a little worse because it's the spine. But it'll be OK in a couple of days."

    Doncic, who registered 28 points against the Suns, played with a neck injury in last season's playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers.

    He has averaged 25.2 points per game this season, 5.1 more than any other Mavs player, while he also leads the team for rebounds (8.8) and assists (8.7).

    Across 31 games so far in 2021-22, Doncic's points average is down on last season (27.7 across 61 appearances).

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    Thursday's defeat was only their second in 12 games, but the Suns simply had too much. Phoenix hold the NBA's best record so far this season, sitting on 35-9 with a .795 win rate.

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    "We all trust each other," Booker told reporters.

    "We had a lot of learning curves last year, but having that time and that experience together, I know put us in a situation where we never hit the panic button.

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    Stephen Curry scored 39 points but it was not enough as the Golden State Warriors were shocked by a depleted Indiana Pacers 121-117 in over-time on Thursday.

    The Pacers were without Domantas Sabonis (ankle), Caris LeVert (calf) and Malcolm Brogdon (Achilles) yet found a way to win led by Chris Duarte with 27 points and seven rebounds.

    Curry hit six three-pointers in his 39-point haul with five rebounds and eight assists while Kevin Looney had 13 points and 15 rebounds.

    The two-time MVP shot 12 of 27 from the field, while Klay Thompson shot six of 17 from the field and zero of seven from beyond the arc.

    The Warriors gave away 21 turnovers for the game which was costly as the Pacers claimed rare back-to-back road wins.

     

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    The table-topping Phoenix Suns stormed home with a 35-19 fourth quarter to knock off Luka Doncic's Dallas Mavericks 109-101.

    Devin Booker finished with 28 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, while Chris Paul had 20 points and 11 assists. The Suns enjoyed a 22-6 run to finish the game, with Paul underlining their clutch status with a late three-pointer.

    Phoenix improve to 35-9 on the back of a five-game winning run. Doncic, who nursed a minor neck issue, had 28 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the Mavs.

     

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    Julius Randle shot one-of-nine from the field as the New York Knicks were humbled 102-91 by the New Orleans Pelicans. Randle only managed four points, while Kemba Walker also struggled with only five points.

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