For the last, oh… decade or so now, Stephen Curry’s late-game mastery has been a staple of Golden State Warriors basketball. And the two-time NBA MVP was at it again as the team’s headlining, Christmas Day bout with the Phoenix Suns came to a close.
During the decisive final period, Curry put up 10 points en route to dropping a game-high 33. In doing so, he led the Warriors to a 116-107 win over their Western Conference Rivals.
In spite of his efforts, though, it was another Warrior who really owned the clutch for Golden State on this occasion, and an unlikely one at that. Namely, veteran forward Otto Porter Jr.
With 5:04 remaining in the fourth quarter and the Warriors clinging to a five-point lead, Porter checked back into the contest. He went on to score 10 of the team’s final 12 points — hitting two triples along the way — to secure the win, which propelled Golden State back into the No. 1 spot in the Western Conference.
Curry & Draymond Green Have High Praise for Porter
In the immediate aftermath of the win, neither Curry nor Draymond Green could contain their praise for Porter, who signed with the Warriors on a minimum contract over the summer. As Green sees it, Porter has been a gift from the hoops gods for the resurgent club.
“Otto Porter, huge shots, but not only that, Otto all year, has been incredible on the glass and for someone that they said was a lousy defender, he’s been one of the better defenders on our team,” Green said post-game on ESPN radio.
“You can’t say enough about how that guy is stepping up to the challenge and answering the bell night after night after night.”
For his part, Curry believes that Porter has rewritten the script stating that he’s outlived his usefulness as a player. But he was especially thankful for Porter’s latest contribution to the cause.
“People have cast him out the last couple years and he’s come in here and really made an impact,” Curry said during his post-game interview with ABC. “He took over down the stretch in that fourth quarter.”
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Porter’s Efficiency Hearkens Back to His Glory Days
During his prime years with the Washington Wizards, Porter was an analytical darling. In 2016-17 and 2017-18, he knocked down a combined 50.9% of his field-goal attempts and 43.7% of his triples. As a result, his effective field goal percentage checked in at 59.4 and he was scoring 1.31 points per shot attempt.
It was that output that prompted the Wiz to match Porter’s four-year, $106 million offer sheet from the Brooklyn Nets in 2017. And now he’s putting up similar numbers in smaller doses for the Dubs.
Over 28 games with the Warriors this season, Porter has an eFG% of 59.7. He’s at 46.6% from the floor and 40% on three-pointers, while taking a greater percentage of his shots from deep. Consequently, he’s scoring a healthy 1.28 points per shot attempt.