And thus the legend grows.
Just minutes before Golden State's 132-125 win over Portland we found out that Stephen Curry would play, but would likely be limited to 25 minutes.
Then the Trail Blazers took an early 16 point lead... and the Warriors back-up Point Guard, Shaun Livingston got two early technical fouls and was sent to the locker room. So much for easing back into game shape.
Curry had to play like an MVP to win this one. He played 36 minutes in his first full game in weeks. It wasn't pretty early. He struggled with his three point shot, but made a couple of plays driving to the basket, making a nice step back and finding Festus Ezeli for an easy layup in the first half. By halftime the MVP was starting to look like himself.
After an impressive third period for Golden State, in which Draymond Green and Klay Thompson were dominant, the Warriors took a one point lead into the fourth quarter. This is when Damian Lillard, who had been an iceberg on the court all night, started to rain down threes from 30 feet. There was a feeling that Dame was going to once again take over the game, but the MVP was having none of it. Watching the two go back and forth was the most exhilarating moment of these NBA Playoffs so far. They were responsible for every point scored in the final four minutes.
Both Lillard, who finished the game with 36 points and 10 assists, and Curry missed game winning shots down the stretch. Unlike the game before it, a slop-fest in which the Heat outlasted the Raptors for a 94-87 victory, this was a game that everyone wanted to see go into overtime.
This is when Steph started to write the next chapter in his already historic career.
Curry scored 17 points in overtime, an NBA record. The points came from all over the court: off an offensive rebound surrounded by big men, from 28 feet with a hand his face. There was no longer any doubt in his body language: not about his knee, or fatigue, or his jump shot. Watching Steph reboot his three point shot was like watching the Death Star charge. When the first couple of threes went down everyone knew that Portland was in trouble.
I still remember the night LeBron James scored 29 out of the Cavs last 30 points against the Detroit Pistons all those years ago. At the time I thought I would never be lucky enough to see that kind of super human performance again, but here we are. What Stephen Curry did to the Blazers, scoring 40 points off the bench, including 17 in the five minutes of overtime, will stick with me for the rest of my life.
Paul Allen, your thoughts?
Allen's face is a perfect representation of the basketball world at large. The Inside the NBA crew were rendered speechless. All Steve Kerr could muster to say about Steph's game was, "Crazy." My twitter feed lit up like aliens had just landed. Maybe that's not entirely off base, maybe Curry is an alien who saw basketball and thought it would be a fun sport to take up. That would account for the other worldly talent that we are lucky enough to be witnessing.