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Golden State, Curry show their high ceiling


Steph Curry career-high vs Blazers
Steph Curry and the Warriors showed how good they can be. Photo from Sports Illustrated.

The Golden State Warriors beat the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday. Stephen Curry hit a career-high.

Curry’s 62 points was the most since Devin Booker hit 70 in 2017. It was a spectacular night from one of the game’s greatest ever players. Curry went through his box of tricks, a menace off ball, handling it like Allen Iverson, hitting contested threes like few on the planet can.

Damian Lillard got the better of Curry in the first matchup. Lillard vs Curry has become a thing, and Curry’s legacy has already been questioned on this young season. Whether a direct response to those critiques or a simple basketball decision, Curry was more aggressive on Sunday than he has been in previous games. The return of Draymond Green has helped no end, and the Warriors found a new level as a defensive team, led by Green.

Green’s return has allowed Curry to operate off-ball more. The rock flies around the court in a way it did not previously. Curry is not going to score 60 every night (though he needs to be just as active and willing to drive), but the blueprint for how the Warriors can be a competitive team was clear.

Just as Curry has been doubted, there have been suggestions that Green is on the decline. His numbers on Sunday would aid that simplistic narrative (one point and three boards), but it was a vintage Draymond display. He was immense on the defensive end, drawing charges, disrupting shots, getting deflections and organising his teammates. His playmaking made Curry’s life easier on the other end, too.

Curry was flying around the court. Portland is not a great defensive team, but they threw everything at him. He escaped from traps, he pulled off those trademark give-and-goes. It was no coincidence that Curry registered a career-high in free throw attempts, too.

The Warriors might not be title contenders. Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Oubre are inconsistent, and James Wiseman is so raw, but Curry and Green showed the high ceiling of this group. Don’t write them off just yet.

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