The Golden State Warriors have an attitude about them this season, one intended to let the entire NBA know one thing — they are not a team to be trifled with. No player has embodied this aura better than Steph Curry did on Sunday against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Curry was trailing a fast break early in the fourth quarter on November 28 when he caught a pass in the lane from teammate Otto Porter Jr. and went up for a layup on the left side of the hoop. Terance Mann, of the Clippers, was defending the 2-on-1 break and appeared to foul Curry with a hard body check that sent the point guard stumbling out of bounds.
The referee on the play did not issue a foul call, but instead indicated the ball had gone out of bounds and possession belonged to the Warriors. It was at that point that Curry lost his temper, immediately storming toward the ref while yelling furiously. Anthony Slater, of The Athletic, tweeted video of the outburst Sunday.
“The non-call that set Steph Curry off,” Slater wrote.
What Slater couldn’t have known was that the play, and Curry’s reaction to it, wouldn’t just anger the league’s leading scorer into a technical foul but would also energize the entire Dubs’ roster into throttling the Clippers over the final 9 minutes and 7 seconds of the game.
Curry Taunts Ref With ‘Technical’ Celebration After Burying 3-Pointer
The score of the Warriors and Clippers game was 79-70 at the moment of the technical foul call. The game ended in a score of 105-90, another blowout victory for the Dubs on their way to an NBA-best record of 18-2.
Curry led all scorers with 33 points on 54% shooting from the field, including 7 made 3-point shots. He also dished out 6 assists, snagged 6 steals and grabbed 5 rebounds. But of all the great plays Curry made down the stretch, one in particular stood out over the others.
A little less than 4 game minutes after the technical foul, with the Dubs up 92-77, Curry brought the ball down the left side of the court. With two defenders draped all over him, he pulled up from deep while fading to his left and drilled a 3-pointer. The shot put the Warriors up 18 points with just over 5 minutes to play, caused the Clippers to call a timeout and led to an instant classic celebration from Curry.
Pausing a second or so for effect, Curry then emphatically mimicked the hand signal made by referees to indicate a technical foul before running back to his bench and raucously celebrating with his teammates while beating his chest. The Warriors on NBCS Twitter account posted video of the play and the subsequent celebration online Sunday.
“STEPHEN CURRY IS A MAD MAN,” NBCSWarriors wrote.
Warriors Set For Showdown With Red Hot Phoenix Suns
The Warriors’ inspired performance Sunday sets the stage perfectly for what will arguably be the premier showdown of the NBA regular season to this point — a matchup between the league’s two best teams, Golden State and the Phoenix Suns, in the desert on Tuesday, November 30. As previously noted, the Dubs lead the NBA with an 18-2 record. But right on their heels are the red hot Suns, who boast a record of 17-3 and have won 16 straight games.
The Warriors have yet to return Klay Thompson or James Wiseman, both likely to prove crucial pieces to their postseason run and both of whom were just designated to the Dubs’ G League affiliate in Santa Cruz — the last step before returning to regular game action. While it was not the case heading into the season, Golden State is now a favorite to emerge from the Western Conference and earn another trip to the NBA Finals. The return of Thompson and Wiseman will make their roster whole for the first time all year.
The Suns are the defending Western Conference champions and held a 2-0 lead in the Finals against the Milwaukee Bucks before a historic stretch from Giannis Antetokounmpo left Phoenix just shy of its championship dreams. The Suns have also suffered from injury this year, specifically to big man Deandre Ayton who missed a stretch of 11 days earlier this month. But like the Warriors, Phoenix has not let the absences of key components slow its team down.
Just like Sunday against the Clippers, passions are sure to be high all week, as the Warriors travel to Phoenix for the first matchup and host the rematch just three days later in the Bay Area. Buckle up.