Every so often, Stephen Curry has a performance that reminds everyone that he’s one of the truly elite players to ever shoot a basketball. That was the case on Thursday night.
Going up against the Los Angeles Clippers, Steph hit 16-of-25 shots (8-of-13 from three), scoring 45 points, adding 10 rebounds on top of it to lead the team. He hit a pair of huge threes in the last minute of the game, one of which came from 31 feet out, and a pair of free throws to ice things. He also posted a 25-point quarter, on perfect 9-for-9 shooting. The Golden State Warriors grinded out a tough 115-113 win to move to 2-0, with a pair of wins over the Los Angeles clubs.
It was a nice turnaround from an iffy 5-for-21 night against the Lakers for Curry. According to NBA.com, Curry has actually ramped things up in the offseason, and his shooting drills have gotten pretty ridiculous. His trainer says that they now only count swishes as makes during workouts. Anything that touches rim, even if it goes in, doesn’t count.
“Making shots in workouts is no longer good enough,” Brandon Payne, who trains Curry, said. “We’ve established he’s going to make a lot of shots in workouts. He consistently does that. So for us, we’ve utilized technology to be even more precise.”
Just like for most of his career, Steph Curry made shots vs the Clippers only he could make. Steph & trainer, Brandon Payne, shared how shot-tracking data helped his workouts. Steph: "It was a mental challenge of trying to be as perfect as possible." https://t.co/yVUnA5pURD pic.twitter.com/gn1W1zX7th
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) October 22, 2021
The pair has embraced shot tracking technology, which breaks down the a shot’s movement, arc, and depth around the rim. The goal: absolute perfection:
“It was a mental challenge of trying to be as perfect as possible,” Curry told NBA.com “If I make 10 shots and they are outside of that window and then I have to do 10 more for that drill, it becomes a conditioning drill if you don’t knock them down earlier in the drill. So you have to stay locked in and focused. It creates a game-like situation with pressure. You don’t want to be out there all day feeling dog tired because you can’t beat the drill.”
Curry conceded he did not always master the drill. So that left Payne dealing with an uncomfortable job description. “I have to tell the greatest shooter that has ever lived that it’s not good enough.” Payne often said he told himself, “That’s Stephen Curry; should I be saying this to him?”
The Warriors will need near perfection from Steph to stay afloat in a very deep Western Conference. Draymond Green is out there, but the team is still waiting on the return of Klay Thompson from the injury that cost him last season.
Through two games, Curry is averaging 33 points. No other Warrior has eclipsed 20 so far in a single game.