The Golden State Warriors were in a pressure situation. They lost Game 3 in Portland to the Trailblazers. If they lost Game 4, then they would be in for a battle. If they won that game, then they could potentially close the Trailblazers out in five games. But the question wasn’t about who would win the game, but if Curry would play. Stephen Curry was out for over two weeks and there was some speculation as to if he would play or not. The Warriors decided he would play, but he would come in off the bench. The thought was that he would ease back into playing the game, getting roughly about 20-25 minutes of action. But what we witnessed in the fourth quarter and overtime was something that no one expected to happen.
For most of the game, Curry looked like he was getting himself together. He checked in midway through the first quarter and was looking like he was still trying to get his rhythm. He was trying to do a few things that he used to do early in the game. Curry took a few stepback jumpers and three-pointers and did not look like himself. He was moving well coming off his screens and coming out of his cuts. But when he was doing his usual dribbling moves he uses to free himself up for deep three-pointers, it looked like he was still trying to find his shot. At that point in time, he was still hitting the short shots but the range was not there. He would end the half not making a three at all, but he was hitting his midrange shots. Curry was not expected to start in the second half, but with Shaun Livingston getting thrown out of the game in the first half, Curry had to start. He still looked like he was trying to get it together and made a few explosive moves that looked like a healthy Steph Curry. But the Trailblazers were still coming and giving the Warriors fits. The game was hanging in the balance. But that was when the MVP showed up.
Curry entered the fourth quarter like he sensed his team needed him. At that point, he only had 17 points for the game. But in the fourth, Steph started to look like himself. He hit some three’s off the dribble and even hit some on the fast break. And adding to it, Curry also was able to make some moves to the basket that had him looking like his healthy self. But when he took a jump shot, pointed to his wrist and said “It’s time,” you knew Curry was ready to make some things happen. He would go on to match the big shots by the Trailblazers like the reigning MVP should and in the waning seconds, he found a struggling Harrison Barnes for a wide-open three to tie the game and send it to overtime. Curry said it was time in the fourth quarter, but he showed everyone what time it was in Portland, Oregon. Steph came out like a house on fire in the fourth quarter, hitting stepback three’s, driving to the rim, and also hitting deep three’s like he usually does. And with two words, the fears of all opponents in the NBA were confirmed. Curry looked at the Portland crowd and said, “I’m back.” Curry ended the game with 40 points after finishing the third quarter with only 13 points. If there was anyone questioning if Curry was ready to go, he surely showed everyone that he is ready and able to lead this team. Needless to say, the knee injury is something of the past already.
Curry’s performance in overtime put the stamp of approval on the Warriors getting their main gun back. And with that, the Warriors will definitely be brimming with confidence going forward. If anyone questioned whether he was the MVP or not, he surely showed so against Portland in Game 4. He may not be the unanimous MVP (which never happens anyway), but we all know that he is the baddest man with a basketball in his hands when healthy and on the court. It’s still Steph’s world and we are all still privileged to be living in it.
The General Mike Patton is an up-and-coming writer from Nashville, TN who brings a fresh and non-biased opinion about sports. From his radio experience in Nashville to his time as a sports writer for Free’s World, the website for radio personality and former co-host of BET’s 106 and Park Free (www.freesworld.com), The General is definitely one you want to get to know in the sports world. You can catch his work on The Everyday Man’s Sports Blog (www.theeverydaymanssportsblog.com ). Mike grew up rooting for the San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bulls and Chicago Cubs,and remains a passionate sports fan who expresses intelligent opinions.