Stephen Curry made three-point history en route to winning MVP and leading the Golden State Warriors to 67 wins and a dominant +10.1 average point differential, the best mark since the 2007-08 Boston Celtics put up an average point differential of +10.3. Now in the postseason, Curry is making history again as the Warriors continue their march toward a championship.
Curry’s latest display of brilliance came on Saturday night in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals, with the MVP putting up 40 points on 12-of-19 shooting overall and 7-of-9 from three in the Warriors’ 115-80 romp of the Houston Rockets. In this game, Curry set yet another three-point record, breaking Reggie Miller‘s record for most three-pointers in a single postseason. Miller’s record was 58 in the 2000 postseason, and Curry hit No. 59 on a deep bomb in the second quarter. By the end of the night, Curry stood at 64 three-pointers in just 13 games.
Aside from a brief two-game slump (4-of 21 from three) against the Memphis Grizzlies, Curry has simply been dynamite throughout the playoffs. He’s averaging 29.9 points, 6.6 assists and 5.0 rebounds while shooting 47.5 percent overall and 44.8 percent from three. (If you take away that two-game stretch against the Grizzlies, Curry’s shooting 49.2 percent from three.) He’s taking a crazy 11 three-pointers per game, but considering his superb shooting percentage from long range, I don’t think anybody is complaining. The MVP always has a green light.
Only Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Oscar Robertson, Kevin Durant, Tracy McGrady and Dwyane Wade have averaged 29/6/5 (points/assists/rebounds) in the playoffs, per Basketball-Reference.com. Out of the 17 times it has happened total, only 11 of those times included double-digit games. And if you add in the three-point shooting component, no player ever has averaged 29/6/5 while shooting over 44 percent from three in a postseason, so Curry would be the first if his numbers hold up.
Curry’s numbers through the first three games of these Western Conference Finals are simply laughable they’re so good. He’s averaging 35.7 points, 6.0 assists and 4.7 rebounds. He’s shooting 61.3 percent overall and 58.1 percent from three. He’s shooting 65.0 percent from long range on catch-and-shoot opportunities and 84.6 percent from three on wide open shots, per SportVU. These are video game numbers with the sliders at their easiest levels.
Of course, as great as this all is, it’s made even more impressive considering the Warriors’ team success. Golden State is 11-2 in the playoffs with an average point differential of +9.2. That average point differential is +11.7 on the road in the playoffs, with that number obviously aided by Saturday night’s Game 3.
Further illustrating Curry’s impact is his 13.1 net rating when he’s on the floor and -4.1 net rating when he’s on the bench, per NBA.com. That 17.2 differential in net rating is just a tick larger than his regular-season mark, and while it pales in comparison to the massive 29.6 net rating differential of teammate Draymond Green, it’s incredible nonetheless.
Thanks in large part to the brilliance of Curry, the Warriors are one win away from the franchise’s first Finals appearance since 1975, which resulted in a sweep of the Washington Bullets. Assuming Golden State doesn’t make history in a bad way, it’s looking like we’ll get to see a matchup between Curry and LeBron James‘s Cleveland Cavaliers, who are up 2-0 over the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Warriors would be the favorite in that series against a short-handed Cavaliers squad, but LeBron’s bunch has been superb despite the injuries. Still, while it’s hard to bet against the best player in the world, I’d be comfortable doing it for this matchup because Curry’s Warriors look just about unbeatable.