HOUSTON — Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry couldn’t help but crack a smile in the aftermath of a 126-121 Game 3 overtime loss to the Houston Rockets that he would like to forget. The former MVP was frustrated with the way he played — shooting just 7-of-23 from the field Saturday night — but even he struggled to wrap his head around how so many things didn’t go his way on both ends of the floor.
“It just wasn’t my night,” Curry said.
The most embarrassing moment from arguably his worst game of the season came with the Warriors trailing by five points and only 19.2 seconds to play. Curry found himself all alone on the way to an easy basket after a terrific screen from Warriors forward Draymond Green on Rockets guard Austin Rivers and a nifty behind-the-back move to get by Rockets all-everything guard James Harden. The basket would have cut the lead to three and given the Warriors some hope in the waning moments of overtime. But instead of going up for an uncontested layup, Curry went up for a right-handed dunk.
A sold-out crowd inside Toyota Center reveled in his misfortune, cheering wildly as a stunned Warriors squad was so shell-shocked by the miss that it decided not to foul the Rockets to lengthen the game.
“That was pretty self-explanatory right there,” Curry explained, as the hint of an embarrassed smile crossed his face.
Why didn’t he just lay it in?
“Because I was feeling pretty good,” Curry said. “Had a nice head of steam and probably a little bit of frustration too around how the rest of the night went, but not my finest moment.”
The missed dunk only contributed to a performance that Curry — who did not register a field goal in the fourth quarter or overtime — would love to forget. With 1:49 left in overtime, he missed another open, driving layup that would have cut the Rockets’ lead back to one. In total, Curry missed six different chances at the rim, a stunning stat for one of the best scorers in the game.
“He just had a tough night,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “I mean, everybody — doesn’t matter how good you are, you’re gonna have some bad games, and just a tough night for him. Just didn’t happen.”
Curry tallied 17 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds, and the Rockets reduced their series deficit to 2-1.
Curry dislocated the middle finger on his left hand during the first quarter of Game 2, an injury that has forced him to tape his middle finger and ring finger together and is still causing him pain. But Curry did not want to blame his poor outing on his ailing finger.
“I just got to make those,” Curry said of his misses from short range. “I’m out there playing. Got to produce, and it just didn’t happen tonight.”
Curry is now 18-for-52 from the field in this series, including only 8-for-32 from beyond the arc. Yet he and his teammates remain confident he will be able to break out of his funk soon.
“We know what Steph is capable of,” Green said. “You grow to expect that. You don’t really expect to have a guy to have an off night like he did. Nonetheless, we need Steph to continue to be Steph. Continue to shoot the basketball, no matter if he’s struggling or not. When he’s on the floor, he opens a lot of things for everybody else. Still have an impact that way. We know his shot will start falling.”
About 20 minutes after the game ended, the media was allowed to enter the Warriors locker room, and there was Curry, still in full uniform, riding a stationary bike while scrolling through his phone, as his teammates showered and changed around him. The proud guard didn’t wear a look of despondence after his rough night; he was just left to wonder what might have been if he knocked down a few more shots the same way he has done throughout his career.
“It just happens sometimes,” Warriors swingman Andre Iguodala said of Curry’s close-range misses. “We’re all human. We all will have situations that normally don’t happen to us, so not worried about that at all. He’s fine. He is who he is — same way Kevin says, ‘I’m Kevin Durant,’ he’s Steph Curry. I don’t worry about it — he’ll be fine. He’ll continue to draw that much attention and continue to make amazing plays. And like I said, we’re all human, we all make mistakes.”
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