It was one of those nights in Madison Square Garden. You know, the kind that Michael Jordan seemed to have every time he placed an Air Jordan onto the floor.
“I’ve seen a lot of great performances in this building, and that goes up there,” Mark Jackson, the Warriors coach who once played for the Knicks and at St. John’s, said (via ESPN’s Brian Windhorst). “That shooting performance was a thing of beauty. To the viewing audience, that’s getting hot. To us, that’s Steph Curry. He’s as good of a shooter as anybody that’s played.”
The Warriors were playing shorthanded, with David Lee serving a one-game suspension for his role in a dust-up with Roy Hibbert on Tuesday night. (Hibbert will serve his one-game suspension tonight.) Curry, who has scored 92 points over the last two games, was fined $35,000 (as was Klay Thompson). He hit 11 of 13 3-pointers and had 27 points in each half, playing 48 minutes because, really, who takes out the guy who’s on a streak like this?
Curry made 18 of 28 field-goal attempts (and 7 of 7 free throws). “There was a lot of energy in the arena,” Curry said. “When I made a couple shots you could hear the crowd a little bit. It was electric, and I was kind of running off adrenaline down the stretch.”
All anyone could do, really, was admire the performance.
“We were just getting out of his way and letting him do his thing,” Jarrett Jack said. “I just thanked him, because I have never been part of anything like that in my life.”
He was celebrating like Jackson, too, with an extended shimmy near the end of the game. (As Reader Cowabunga points out, perhaps that would have been a good time to have focused on winning the game…)
When it counted most, the Knicks stopped the Warriors three times, with Raymond Felton blocking Curry’s shot with 1 minutes, 28 seconds left. Five Knicks players were in double figures, with Carmelo Anthony ringing up 35 points and J.R. Smith 26.
There have been 14 performances of 50 or more points in the modern Garden. For a little recent perspective, Kobe Bryant scored 61 in the Garden on Feb. 2, 2009. in the best modern performance. (See Newsday’s list for the full historic rundown.) LeBron James has twice topped 50 here while with the Cavs. It was Jordan, though, who so blatantly loved having the run of the joint. In his best of many great performances there, he scored 55 points on March 28, 1995, and once called the Garden the place to “showcase your basketball talents.” Did he ever, as Ian O’Connor of ESPN New York wrote earlier this month. “Those people there really know basketball,” Jordan said.
On Wednesday, those folks were happy to have the win and let Curry have his points, as the Daily News’ back page could playfully note:
“Hold the Curry!”
Wow, actually 6 Knicks played same time as Steph Curry’s dad- Chandler, KMart, Rasheed, Thomas, Kidd, Camby…
— Eric Stangel (@EricStangel) February 28, 2013
H/T Deadspin for the GIF