Saturday, May 28, 2022

Steph Curry lifts Warriors with first-career buzzer-beater, temporarily masking another dismal shooting night

The Golden State Warriors are not playing their best basketball at the moment. One night after losing to an Indiana Pacers team that was running out a glorified G-League squad, the Warriors found themselves down by nine with under five minutes to play against the Houston Rockets, who own the worst record in the Western Conference. 

But all’s well that ends well, right? 

The Warriors fought their way back and found themselves with the ball on a side out in a tie game with 5.1 seconds to play. It was plenty of time for Stephen Curry to take a few dribbles to his left and create enough space to drain what was, per ESPN Stats and Info, the first buzzer-beater of his career to give Golden State a 105-103 victory. 

Buzzer beaters are always a good time, so I’m not going to rain too hard on this moment. But are we really going to get excited about needing to hit this kind of shot to beat the Rockets? This Warriors team is looking nothing like the one people were trying to compare to the 2015 championship team earlier this season. 

Even with this win, the Warriors have lost three of their past five games and six of their past 10. Since Dec. 1, their offense ranks 25th in the league. Meanwhile, Curry’s shooting slump has officially reached bizarre proportions. For the season, he’s barely over 38 percent from 3 (by far a career-low) with a worse overall shooting percentage than Russell Westbrook

On Friday, Curry shot just 4 of 13 from 3 and 6 of 21 overall. “I finally made one,” he exhaled in his postgame interview, and you can understand the frustration. The guy has only shot 50 percent from the field one time since before Christmas. 

For the month of January, Curry is shooting under 33 percent from 3. We keep thinking he’s going to snap out of this, but it’s just not happening and a lot of these misses aren’t even close. Curry has long been a streaky shooter, but this isn’t just a normal cold streak. 

I remember Mark Price, one of the greatest shooters of all time, telling me that even great shooters lose confidence when the shots aren’t going in. Curry would never admit this, but his confidence is shaken right now. He is out of rhythm. But he found it for the one shot that mattered most on Friday, and all he and the Warriors can hope is that it creates some positive momentum moving forward. 

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