Stephen Curry keeps making threes and the Golden State Warriors keep getting closer to their first NBA Finals appearance in 40 years.
They're really one and the same, the NBA most valuable player continually pushing the Warriors in their attempt to reward a starved franchise and deserving fan base.
The latest chapters were released Saturday: Curry had 40 points and set an NBA single-season playoff record for three-pointers as the Warriors crushed the Houston Rockets, 115-80, in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals.
Curry made seven of nine three-point attempts, giving him 64 in only 13 playoff games, and the Rockets must quickly try to live up to their “Clutch City” nickname — an NBA team has never come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a series.
Curry passed former record-holder Reggie Miller in the second quarter and could ultimately demolish the 58 threes Miller had in 22 playoff games for Indiana in 2000.
“His shooting, it's hard to describe,” Golden State Coach Steve Kerr said, wondering whether there had ever been an individual playoff run from a shooter to rival Curry's. “I don't think we've seen anybody this quick, with the ability to create space … with this kind of fearlessness and confidence. He's really something.”
Houston guard James Harden was the opposite of Curry, missing 13 of 16 shots and scoring 17 points in front of a deflated Toyota Center crowd.
First halves in conference championships don't get more dominant than the Warriors' effort Saturday.
They held Harden to one-for-eight shooting, committed only one turnover and secured assists on 15 of their 23 field goals. Team basketball at its best, by all means, creating a 62-37 halftime lead.
Curry had a highly efficient 18 points on seven first-half shots and Andrew Bogut was plenty precise too, scoring 12 points on five-for-five shooting before halftime.
Curry, listed at 6 feet 3, also did work down low, successfully boxing out Rockets center Dwight Howard after a Warriors second-quarter shot. Curry took the offensive rebound and was fouled by Howard while trying a quick follow-up.
It marked another solid victory for Kerr, a rookie coach and teller of tales dating to his playing days with the Chicago Bulls.
Kerr won three championships as Chicago's shooting guard and didn't mind telling Warriors players stories about past playoffs, seeing how there hadn't been a championship appearance for the Bay Area franchise since 1975.
“Yeah, they listen, especially if I mention Michael Jordan,” Kerr said. “That seems to perk their ears up.”
Howard had a quiet 14 points and 14 rebounds as the Rockets found themselves in another tough playoff spot. They managed to come back from a 3-1 series deficit to beat the Clippers this month, but the Clippers aren't the Warriors.
“They got it going and they just piled it on,” Houston Coach Kevin McHale said.