* Photo Credit: ftw.usatoday.com
If you didn’t see the end of the Oklahoma City Thunder-Golden State Warriors game last night, figure out some way to watch it. If you can’t find it, or want a little taste of what happened, keep reading.
That was one of the greatest finishes to an basketball game (at any level) that I’ve ever seen. Could the best. Definitely the wildest. In front of a raucus OKC crowd, the Warriors defeated the Thunder 121-118 in an overtime thriller. But this was a rare instance of player superseding game.
No one has made my jaw drop playing basketball as much as Stephen Curry does—not Kevin Durant, not Russell Westbrook, not in-his-prime Kobe Bryant, and not even LeBron James. Tonight was only further proof of Curry’s unparalleled ability to render me speechless. He’s on another planet, in another universe even. His game defines the word absurdity. Oh, and he's the best basketball player in the world. Those bitter, old Hall of Famers (i.e. Oscar Robertson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) who have nothing better to do than criticize the current state of basketball and be all-around farts need to shut the fuck up. Is today’s game less physical than that of twenty years ago? Yes. Does that make it easier for a guy like Curry to score? Yeah, probably. But what Curry just did, no other player in the history of professional basketball could have done in any era. He’s something the game has never seen before. He is, simply put, the best player in the goddam world.
The Warriors deserve credit, too. No other team can do what they do. And they do it at the highest level. Three-point shooting, unselfishness, intellect, defense, coaching, depth, confidence—they’ve got it all. And then some.
Durant put up 37 points and 12 boards in this 121-118 classic; Westbrook dropped 26 points and had 13 dimes. Ibaka grabbed 20 tough rebounds. Thompson had 32 points, and Green threw together a ridiculous 14 and 14 game (by that, I mean 14 rebounds and 14 assists). But Curry overshadowed them all. His 12 threes, tying an NBA record and breaking his own single season 3-pointers made record with 24 games remaining in the process, rendered the Thunder helpless. They couldn’t maintain leads they had in the fourth quarter (12) and overtime (5). Durant fouled out in O.T., which was enormous; Iguodala knocked down two free throws coming off an inexplicable KD foul to force overtime in the first place, also gigantic; the Warriors ingeniously trapped Durant instead of fouling him in the waning moments of the fourth quarter and Durant foolishly threw the ball away when he could have called time out (rough game for the Durantula); and Thompson nailed some big buckets down the stretch, including converting on a three-point play to tie the game at 118.
But the Warriors don’t win that game, nor are they in a position to win that game without the heroics of Stephen Curry. He didn’t just hit the game-winning shot from 32 feet away (yes, 32 feet away, as in 10 feet behind the three-point arc) with .6 seconds left. He nailed three after three after three in front of a hostile OKC crowd, down the stretch, when it mattered most. Oh, and I should mention that Mike Breen was so flabbergasted when Curry drained the shot from about Missouri that he had to say “Bang!” twice. It was unbelievable.
Curry is clutch, he’s must-watch television, and he’s an absolute assassin. Don’t compare him to Michael Jordan. That wouldn’t be fair to number 30. He’s Stephen Curry, the best player in the world. Did I mention that already?