What can Stephen Curry do for an encore?
The Atlanta Hawks have to hope they're not the ones who find out.
After three straight 40-point performances - the latest of which may have been his most awe-inspiring yet - Curry might skip Tuesday night's game against the Hawks due to an ankle injury as his Golden State Warriors try to get within one victory of the longest home streak in NBA history.
Curry began Golden State's four-games-in-six-days stretch last week with 36 points in a 102-92 win at Atlanta (33-27) - and that was his least impressive effort of the four. He had 42 in a comeback win over Miami on Wednesday, dropped 51 with 10 3-pointers on Orlando one night later and then matched an NBA record with 12 3s while scoring 46 points in a 121-118 overtime victory at Oklahoma City on Saturday.
''Everybody in this locker room, we've seen him practice from that range every day,'' Klay Thompson said. ''He's got the greatest range I've ever seen. He makes it look so effortless.''
Curry suffered a sprained ankle in the second quarter against the Thunder before returning in the third, and although it didn't keep him from knocking down the game-winning 3 from some 35 feet, it kept him out of Monday's practice and has him officially listed as questionable.
"We're not going to do anything crazy, obviously," coach Steve Kerr said of Curry, who's coming off the most productive four-game stretch (175 points) since Michael Jordan had 178 in November 1992. "We'll err on the side of caution. But if he's healthy enough to go, we'll play him."
A look at the Warriors' other game this week could give Kerr some incentive to rest Curry. Oklahoma City visits Thursday for a rematch of Saturday's classic, and that's the game when Golden State (53-5) could tie the mid-90s Bulls for the longest regular-season home winning streak in NBA history at 44.
First the Warriors will have to beat Atlanta for the second time in nine days, and Curry's potential absence would at least give the Hawks a little bit of help guarding the 3-point line. Golden State attempted a season-high 45 3s last week at Philips Arena, with Curry and Thompson each connecting on five of the 14 that went in.
The Warriors led by as many as 23 but Atlanta didn't feel empty after the loss, putting together a 33-6 second-half run that briefly gave it the lead.
Mike Budenholzer called that spurt something the Hawks could build on, and they did just that to close the week - especially on the defensive end. The Hawks held Chicago to 36.4 percent shooting Friday in a 103-88 win, then played their stingiest game of the season by limiting Charlotte to 33.3 percent in Sunday's 87-76 victory.
Al Horford was quickly looking ahead to the opener of a five-game road trip that ends in Toronto.
''It's going to be a big challenge,'' he said of a rematch with Golden State, ''but we have a good opportunity to do well.''
Horford did his part last week, finishing with 23 points, 16 rebounds, six assists, five blocks and three steals, but the Splash Brothers outscored Atlanta's starting backcourt of Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver 63-18.
Golden State has won five straight and 16 of 17, though it's doing much of this damage with little offense from its third-leading scorer. Draymond Green is averaging just 9.8 points and shooting 18.8 percent from 3 over his last nine games, and he spent Monday apologizing for an emotional halftime outburst at Oklahoma City.
''We know he'll never quit, he'll never do anything to put our production on the floor in jeopardy,'' Curry said. ''He's invested in what we're doing. Obviously he's an emotional guy, a fiery guy. That's what we love about him, what he brings to the court."
The Hawks have by far the NBA's best defensive rating (95.8 points per 100 possessions) over the last 20 games, but they're just 10-10.