In case fans forgot, Steph Curry is still Steph Curry. Look no further than his sixth 50-point output and 10th game—count 'em—with at least 10 three-pointers.
To state that Stephen Curry is a brilliant basketball player is to state the obvious, but it never hurts to be reminded, unless you are on the receiving end. No degree of malaise over Golden State’s dominance will ever fully mask the viewing experience when he catches fire. Part man, part artillery, he erupted for 51 points on 15–24 shooting in a 144–122 burial of the Wizards at Oracle Arena on Wednesday night, habitually making the extraordinary look casual and, as has become ritual in Warriors blowouts, sitting out the entire fourth quarter.
Curry’s big night was the highest-scoring game by any player in this young season, the sixth 50-point game of his career, the 10th time he’s drained at least 10 three-pointers and the sixth time he’s made at least 11. You could rattle off any number of statistics to support the claim he’s the greatest distance shooter in NBA history, but truthfully, at this point they’re unnecessary. (Still, if you figured in the number of late-game minutes Curry has forgone for respite over the last few seasons, those totals would probably be even gaudier.)
Transcendent players have always set the mold for subsequent generations of talent, and while there will be imitators and disciples and just as surely, an increasing number of three-pointers as the years go on, there will never be another who does it quite like Curry. His ability to locate and relocate around the perimeter is just as fundamental as his handle and feel for navigating the paint. He’s the only player in the league that has to be defended no matter where he’s standing in the halfcourt. That’s not to be taken for granted.
Wednesday’s game was a microcosm of the tools and traits that have kept Curry atop the league as he enters his 30s; somehow amid the most dominant run in recent league history, he probably still deserves more credit. Watching the Warriors blow out teams can grow tiresome, but witnessing him confound defenses by himself has not. Not even when tired writers on the other coast are running dry for new turns of phrase.