Big Reason NBA Analyst Predicted Warriors’ Steph Curry ‘Gonna Have 50’

Stephen Curry, Warriors

Getty Stephen Curry, Warriors

Maybe WNBA great and TNT NBA studio analyst Candace Parker should get into coaching. Or, perhaps, she should be a psychic. Because well before Stephen Curry stepped onto the Chase Center floor for the Warriors on Monday night against the Hawks, Parker had a feeling.

“Steph is gonna have 50 tonight,” she tweeted. “Anytime you play against a young protégé you gotta let ‘em know.”

And Curry, of course, did let ‘em know. He scored exactly 50 points, reaching the milestone for the 10th time in his NBA career. It was the first time Curry had gone for 50 points and 10 assists in the same game.

The protégé Parker was referring to, of course, is Hawks star Trae Young, who has spent much of his early career being compared to Curry. In fact, coming into the 2018 NBA draft, Young sought (and got) advice from Curry.

Trae Young reveals the advice Stephen Curry gave him about the NBA draft | SportsCenter | ESPNFormer Oklahoma Sooners guard Trae Young joins SportsCenter to discuss the NBA draft lottery, and reveals the advice Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry gave him. ✔ Subscribe to ESPN on YouTube: ✔ Watch Latest Episodes on WatchESPN: ✔ Watch ESPN on YouTube TV: Get more ESPN on YouTube: ► First Take:…2018-05-15T23:19:07Z

Both came into the league as high-scoring collegians who were doubted because of their slight frames and their ability to be playmakers as well as scorers. Young raised eyebrows when he averaged 29.3 points in his second NBA season, but last season, as the Hawks improved, he was willing to sacrifice his own shots for the betterment of the team. He averaged 25.3 points that season.

This year, though, Young has struggled with his shooting from the perimeter (31.3%) and because of the way NBA referees have been calling games. Young’s free-throw attempts have dropped from 8.7 last season to 5.5 this season, and he is scoring just 23.7 points.

He had 28 points on 11-for-20 shooting against the Dubs.

Warriors Defense Adjusted, Shut Down Trae Young

In fact, one of the underrated aspects of the Warriors’ win on Monday—Curry’s 50 piece, of course, dominated coverage—was what the Golden State defense did with Young in the second half. The Hawks were winning at halftime, 65-61, and it looked like Curry and his protégé were going to be engaged in a night-long battle.

Young had 21 points on 8-for-14 shooting. Curry had 24 points on 7-for-12 shooting.

But then the Warriors began deploying a junk defense against Young—a box-and-one—designed to get the ball out of his hands and force other Hawks to make shots. It worked. Young took only six shots in the second half, making three. Curry had 26 points on 16 shots.

“They were box-and-one-ing me the whole second half or most of that second half,” Young told reporters. “Any time I came off a screen, they trap.”

Hawks Tried to Junk Up Their Defense on Curry, Too

Now, the Hawks are not dumb—they tried the same thing against Curry, giving him a box-and-one look in an attempt to keep the ball out of his hands. But Curry has been in the league for 13 seasons now, all with the Warriors, and has been coached by Steve Kerr since 2014.

They’ve seen enough junk defenses in their time. Young was asked about that, and explained why the Warriors are so well set-up to keep Curry thriving no matter the D:

We kind of did it to Steph later in the game but their team is so wired. They know when Steph gets off (the screen) and Draymond is throwing a lob or finding another shooter. They’re wired like that. They’ve been through this. They know how to handle when Steph is getting trapped. That’s another part of our growth we have to build on. Whenever I’m getting trapped, guys have to be aggressive and go make plays. We’ll get better at that. This is the first time this season I’ve gotten box-and-one’d.

Parker was right, then. Young learned something from what happened with Curry on Monday. Curry did need to show his protégé a thing or two.

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