Steph Curry has two regular season MVPs, has helped lead the Golden State Warriors to five NBA Finals appearances and owns three championship rings. Yet critics continue to accuse him of not showing up when it counts.
In a paraphrased equivalent of the tired, hackneyed sports debate argument of “do it in a big game” or “show me something when it counts,” Fox Sports analyst Skip Bayless took aim at Curry on Twitter Tuesday night to criticize what was a brilliant regular season performance against Kevin Durant and the Eastern Conference favorite Brooklyn Nets.
Ever the reliable curmudgeon and sneering detractor of feats fantastic, and otherwise, Bayless failed to appreciate yet another example of Curry’s sustained greatness by comparing it to one of the few times the league’s reigning scoring champion failed to produce at an absolute peak level.
“Sure, Steph can hit his wow bombs now, up 21. But look hard at his playoff resume and see how many times he’s come up small in the clutch,” Bayless wrote on Twitter Tuesday, November 16. “Start with Games 5, 6 & 7 of the 2016 Finals when he helped choke away a 3-1 lead over Kyrie/LeBron with 5 & 7 at home.”
Curry, Dubs Silence Doubters With Rout of Nets in Brooklyn
Unsurprisingly, Bayless continued his baseless onslaught of Curry’s basketball character and mettle throughout Wednesday morning in an attempt to promote his weekday morning television show. But for everyone else not trafficking in obnoxiously loud and sensationalistic nonsense to earn a dollar, there was little to criticize about the performance of the Dubs’ point guard Tuesday night.
Curry was on fire the entire evening, dropping a stat line that included 37 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and a +16 in the plus/minus column en route to a 117-99 victory over the Nets, per ESPN. He was also wildly efficient, shooting 12-of-19 from the field, including 9-of-14 from behind the 3-point arc.
Durant, Curry’s former championship teammate, put up roughly half the offensive performance with 19 points in the Nets’ loss. He then spoke after the game to the work Curry put in on the court, with commentary both more credible and more glowing than the assessment provided by Bayless.
The Twitter account belonging to @SNYNets posted video of Durant’s postgame comments online Tuesday night.
“He’s a master at what he does,” Durant said in a portion of the video. “I’ve been saying that since we came into the league.”
Warriors on Incredible Tear to Start Season
The Warriors stand alone atop not only the Western Conference, but the entire NBA, with a record of 12-2. While it’s true that their schedule has been softer to start the season, and that their record was padded by an early eight-game home stand, during which the Dubs went 7-1, there is no evidence to suggest that this Golden State team is anything but for real.
Namely, it is still missing two players likely to re-enter the starting lineup at some point after their return in shooting guard Klay Thompson and center James Wiseman. Thompson is expected back by Christmas, give or take, and Wiseman is likely to take the floor before then.
The Dubs are also insanely deep. Third-year guard Jordan Poole, who has been starting in Thompson’s stead, will ultimately be relegated to a sixth-man role and will be one of the most dangerous offensive bench players in the entire league once he is, alongside Jordan Clarkson of the Utah Jazz and Tyler Herro of the Miami Heat.
Meanwhile, Gary Payton II and rookie Jonathan Kuminga are just two of a host of young faces playing pivotal roles for the Dubs and getting more productive seemingly by the day. Because of players like these, not to mention the additions of guys like Nemanja Bjelica, Golden State is sits at, or near, the top of the NBA in an array of traditional and advanced statistical categories, including overall points scored, points against, defensive rating and rebound rate.
Many NBA rosters remain incomplete, including the Nets, which may add Kyrie Irving back at some point should he make the decision to return. The Los Angeles Clippers may add Kawhi Leonard back before season’s end, the Los Angeles Lakers will get stronger with the return of LeBron James, and the Denver Nuggets will eventually return Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr.
This is all to say that the Western Conference, and the entire NBA, will up their games and rosters before playoff time arrives. But so will the Warriors. And none of those other teams have produced like the Dubs have to start the season.
Perhaps even more importantly, none of those franchises have the likes of Curry leading them night in and night out, which is an incredibly valuable advantage, whether Bayless believes so or not.